Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Novels, Films, Future and Snow

10 days ago there was almost no snow near the house. In fact, we had started to work the garden - herbs were growing and some of the perennials were starting to green after five months of serious winter. Then, snow. Lots of it. 18 cm in fact. Which is a lot. It started to melt today, but it is likely to freeze, thaw and freeze, so ice will be our next problem. Then it will all melt quickly, so the "run off" will be fast and substantial.

Ah well, I guess if you chose to live this far north then this is what you should expect.

Saw two poor films last week-end. The Garden State - a little story about a boy placed on lithium by his father after he had pushed his mother and crippled her for life. Not a great movie - nothing wrong with it, just not very interesting. The other was P.S - a movie about a woman who finds a "clone" of a dead boyfriend and dates him. Again, nothing wrong with it, but nothing to rush out for.

Finished another Henning Mankell mystery novel. My fourth since I finished reading the three volume biography of Graham Greene. Mankell has created a detective - Wallander - who is full of self doubt, has a complex social life and is obsessed by his police work. A kind of cross between Morse and Rebus. Very well written and full of twists.

Working on a paper for the National Research Council on 2025 Innovation Culture - what can we do to create an effective culture of innovation by 2025. Immersed in demographic, economic and political analysis right now. I hadn't realized just how serious Canada's demographic issues are - we need 270,000 immigrants a year to stay stable as a vibrant economy. Most of these immigrants will come from China, India, Pakistan and Philippines. Given that India will have some 1.4b people by 2025 and China pretty near the same, we can expect that this immigration is possible. But at what cost ?

A friend and colleague has decided to move on from the University. She will be missed, by me at least. A woman of integrity, deep appreciation for the feelings of people and a real passion for intelligent writing and conversation - she has been an ideal colleague to have around. One of those people I was glad to have something to do with bringing to the University in the first place. Bon voyage, Pam.

Watching a TV program, hosted by Tony Robinson (Baldrick), on the Holy Grail - a review of the evidence relating to the key ideas in the Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown). Tony (now on the national executive of the UK Labour Party). He's a good host for this historical detective story.

Professor Liam Hudson, formerly of Brunel, has died. I went to see him several times to discuss his book The Cult of the Fact (1972) when I was working on my Masters thesis at The Open University (it was a psychometric study and Liam had a lot to say about psychometrics). He was a gentle man and a widely read scholar. He was 71. He made a difference to my generation of methodologists, which is how I once thought of myself.

David Kosoff, the actor, has also died. I saw him play opposite Ertha Kitt (what a wonderful creature she was) in Bunny in 1972 on a trip to London (it was the Criterion theatre).

I must stop reading the obituaries and start shoveling some snow.

No comments: