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Thought For The Day

Thought For The Day – April Fool – 1st Apr 2022

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I must confess that I’m a total killjoy about April Fool’s day. I’m haunted by the memory of one of my primary teachers sending a hapless boy down the corridor to ask another teacher for a ‘long stand’; and I still go red remembering being jeered at in the playground for falling for something foolish. But of course I see the point of it all. It’s one of the few non-religious festivals that seems to crop up all over Europe and beyond, so today we join many other countries around the world in pranking our friends and neighbours. Dennis the Menace is Scotland’s Patron Saint of pranking, and he’d be in his element today. Read More

Thought For The Day – Modern Parenting – 23rd Feb 2022

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While the dark shadows of war gather over Ukraine, scientists in a lab in Oxfordshire have built a star, managing to generate energy from fusing hydrogen atoms for a full 5 seconds. It’s a major milestone in the development of a new clean energy source. What these two situations have in common, is that they show the best and worst-case scenarios for our use of Artificial Intelligence. AI is accelerating scientific and medical discovery; but at the same time, the use of drones threatens to transform warfare, raising deep ethical questions about decision-making and control over life and death. Read More

Thought For The Day – Black Friday – 23rd Nov 2021

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Black Friday seems to have started early this year. Technically it’s this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but my inbox seems to have been full of deals all month. But do you know why we shop? The sociologists think it’s because we fear death. Shopping keeps this fear at bay, because it’s distracting. Buying stuff makes our reality feel more substantial, and buying cool stuff wins us approval from our peers, which makes us feel really alive. Read More

Thought For The Day – Acedia – 19th Aug 2021

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Scotland is Top of the European league! Unfortunately it’s for drug deaths. And this week, we’re back at the top of the UK charts for alcohol-related deaths too. There are lots of people injecting drugs all the time, for diabetes, or fertility treatment, but we direct our disapproval at those who break the law, regardless of the tragic stories behind the statistics. And in some ways that’s right: if we didn’t disapprove of law-breaking, it would become normal, and the law would cease to work. Read More

Thought For The Day – The Galloway Hoard – 23rd Jun 2021

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I took my kids to see the Galloway Hoard at the weekend. Of course once they’d seen the gold jewellery they were totally bored: but I was transfixed. Given that the pinnacle of my detectoring was the discovery of 3 rusty nails, a bottle cap and a corroded 2p, I find it amazing that the detectorist in this case found a 1000 year old hoard worth 2 million pounds, and worth immeasurably more to our understanding of Scottish history. Read More

Thought For The Day – St George – 23rd Apr 2021

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It’s St George’s Day today. I’ve often wondered what the patron saints do for each other’s birthdays. Does David take George some daffs, while Patrick plays the harp, and Andrew pours him a whisky? As a Scot born here but from English stock, and having lived both sides of the border, I’ve always felt a bit weird about St George, and a bit alarmed at all that flag-waving. St George seems to have been a Roman soldier, but it’s not very clear why he’s a saint, or why he’s England’s patron saint. Most of us probably know him best for his dragon-slaying. Read More