It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

People who are worth remembering

Local Hero (6)

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 23, 2011

It is obvious: the obvious stuff is all around us.

Dr Albert Bartlett – the emeritus Professor of Physics at Colorado University.  (‘Emeritus’ means unpaid, I just found out.)  He is a charming and unassuming man.  He is one of my heroes because of a lecture, he has given many times, that can be seen at:

He has a lifetime of achievements – been there and done it all, can well be said of him.  As he is emeritus he clearly has money!  He is 88 so all that he talks about is not going to affect him.  In short he has no vested interest in what he is talking about.  Such provenance makes what he says worthy of a listen.

His lecture is a calm, lucid, explanation of his theme.  It is absorbing viewing.

I won’t spoil it with a summary.  I will say that he talks in the general area of curves that are followed to their natural end.  This is something that I have campaigned against endlessly in this blog and elsewhere.  However it is consideration of what happens when the curves are not followed that is, let me grasp for some appropriate words, sobering, frightening, terrifying, thought provoking.  All of his theme is around the rule of 70.

There are many, many good words in his talk, all of them in the right order.  I offer my favourite:

We cannot let others do our thinking for us.

I wished I had his command of words.

It is obvious: the obvious stuff is all around us, but it often takes masters to make it so.


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Local Hero (5)

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 23, 2011

It is obvious: they are out there

Shaun Richards, better know as Notayesmanseconomics writes every weekday at 11:00 (ish) on all things economic (and other stuff)  It is immensely well informed, logical thought.  He tells it like it is and constantly poses uncomfortable questions.  I would pay serious money to see him interview King, Trichet, Brown or anyone of a dozen others whose shortcoming he constantly highlights.  Alas, a dream.

It should be compulsory reading for everyone in the country every day.

It is obvious: they are out there – just lucky when you find one.

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Local Hero (4)

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 3, 2011

It is obvious: there are a lot of these around

My father cautioned me not to get on or in anything that did not have a steering wheel and brakes.  Good advice.  It includes horses and donkeys and, even more importantly, camels.  Technically it also includes aeroplanes.  I could even add in skiis, snowboards, skateboards and skates.  He is running 100% as far as I am concerned.

He gave me a lot of good advice.  He told me not to buy anything I did not understand.  I did not follow him there as I bought a VCR.  Luckily I had two teenage sons who got me out of that hole.  He did patiently sit down and explain lots of ‘scams’ to me.  He had a simple answer to all the hard selling at the doorstep, on the phone and over the internet.  Just ask for the detail of their offer for you to read at your leisure.  Few will comply  but those that do are worth looking at.  He had a good one on shares: if you are selling someone else is just as sure as you are about buying – one of you is wrong.

He was a mechanical engineer who started at the very bottom aged 13 out of school.  He had good advice for mechanical things: never force anything.  It turns out to be good advice in lots of areas.

He was good at listening.  He was even better at asking stupid questions.  He would keep asking it until I realised it wasn’t.  I miss those long phone conversations.  I know I was the one who benefited but that is what dad’s are for.

I now find my sons living in different continents.  Communication is not good but Skype helps a lot (how does that business model work…I still use it though).  I find I don’t have a lot in common with them and I am not around for the simple things and the quick answers.  Indeed they bravely go in the 21st century and I often follow so the roles are reversed.

I sometimes wonder if the great shakers and movers have dads standing behind them and I wonder what makes the transition from someone who takes advice to one who gives it.

On the 25th anniversary of his death: Reginald Arthur Rick.

It is obvious: there are a lot of these around – I got lucky.


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Local hero (3)

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 19, 2010

It is obvious: there are a lot of them out there.

I came across this today:

It is compelling reading from Morgan Kelly, a professor of economics who, according to commentators on the article, has been hitting the nail on the head over recent years.  At the end of reading, everywhere around me seemed very quiet and still.

No two countries are the same, but I cannot see how this will not apply to other countries as well.

This means we are about to lose our 5th biggest trading partner.  Someone has to stop Osbourne throwing billions at Ireland.

I could perhaps write more on my considered view but it seems pointless after reading the article.

It is obvious: there are a lot of them out there.  You just need to look.


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Local hero (2)

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 5, 2010

It is obvious: we are all packages.

It is hard to imagine anyone who is further away from me on the political spectrum than he is.  Silly old eccentric I have heard him called and I will agree he is eccentric and old.

He is socialist to his core but was 2nd Viscount Stansgate and called his son Hilary, throwing all that off when he changed his name to Tony Benn,  passing his peerage off to someone else.

In amongst all the stuff he is that I oppose to my very core are two things.  The first are the 5 questions he asks of anyone with power:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?

How telling those questions are.  Can you imagine Mugabe or Putin or anyone of a number of world leaders answering those questions to anything but derision from those listening?

The second is his idea of what to do with at least some of the North Sea oil revenues when he was energy minister in the 70’s.  He suggested that a ‘sovereign fund’ be created so that the UK had a big pot of money to act decisively with at key moments.  Silly old fool.  He was laughed out of court.

It is obvious: we are all packages, but it is always worthwhile opening the lid and having a poke around inside.


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Local Hero (1)

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 17, 2010

It is obvious: there are a lot of people who have a firm grasp on reality.

I subscribe to PC Pro magazine.  Recommended by a good friend, it really is excellent.  When it arrives I rip the cover off, shred the address label, shake out the advertising inserts into my paper recycler bin, and go and sit on the loo.  I often sit there until my legs hurt.  When I am done (not the magazine) I throw it in one of the boxes that holds bathroom junk.  Next time I am on the loo I can just reach it and read some more.  By the end of the month I have read and re-read all of it.  On top of all the technical stuff there are four or five gems in there: the technical people write columns.  I like Dick Pountain his view on things often coincides with mine, the editor always has something good to say.  All of them always make me think.

Step forward Jon Honeyball.  At the back he writes wry comment on some PC related topic every month.  The articles are gems amongst gems, but this month he cleared a very high bar by a couple of meters.

He tackled two topics with a fearlessness I wished I could match.  I will not say much about the article.  You have to go and read it.  However he did quote Brian Cox and I will summarise that quote: we know everything theoretical about fusion, to make it happen is only an engineering problem, given that it will solve so many problems for the human race I cannot understand why it has not even been seriously tackled.

We have an energy problem.  Not that we don’t have enough, because the sun throws huge amounts at us every day.  It is just that it is not available in useful forms for us.  We have chosen to use energy today that arrived from the sun millions of years ago, which has been stored underground, and release it into the atmosphere.  Given that the energy arriving pretty much balances against the energy leaving the planet, if we release stored energy things are likely to get hotter, at least on a temporary basis geologically speaking.  Not to worry because oil will run out soon enough.

And that ties in with my earlier blogs.  Why are we trying to give degrees to 45% of the population when 40 years ago it was 5%?  We need to find those thinkers, educate them, sit them in ivory towers and let them get on with solving problems.  We need to educate and train a bunch of doers who can take those ideas and exploit them.  That leaves the rest of us to get on with building and running a society that the human race can be proud of.

Take your bow Jon Honeyball – you say it so much better than I can.

It is obvious: there are a lot of people who have a firm grasp on reality and they seem to get heard a lot less than those that don’t.


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