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At a primary school during break 28 children are playing a peaceful, if somewhat idiosyncratic ball game, with a ball bought by the 6 oldest kids.

Theresa has recently joined the school. She is not happy and and screams from the edge of the game “LISTEN”.

27 kids stop playing and look at Theresa.

Theresa “We will play My game NOT yours”

27 kids resume their peaceful game.

Theresa screams “I will take my ball away”.

But it isn’t her ball, so she goes off to sulk.

Next day she isn’t at the school. The 27 continue their game, developing it, as they mature.

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2017 Resolution


A little late this year, but then there are many calendars, so it is surely the start of the New Year for someone, somewhere, today. Continue Reading »

Back to the trees


The state of the Brexit debate reminded me of “The Evolution Man” (a very funny read by Roy Lewis, also entitled “The Evolution Man or why I ate my father”), which is centred on a protohomonim family that invents many new things, including fire and cooking. Uncle Vanya, whose teeth are not what they were, loves to come down from the trees and eat cooked meat, but he castigates all progress and his catchphrase is “Back to the trees”. Continue Reading »


Monty Python sum up what I think here. Leave voters?  A dose of Derek and  Clive might be useful.

Otherwise, some thoughts on the Brexit referendum Continue Reading »


Thank you Liverpool

Liverpool, like some, but not all Northern cities, voted to Remain. My adopted city for 28 years has once again stood up against fascism. Remember, this is the part of the country that was most heavily bombed in WW II, not Coventry not London. Liverpool, Bootle…. Continue Reading »


My late father was a Desert Rat. He didn’t have to fight, the South African army was comprised entirely of volunteers. He recounted how in the 1930s, listening to Hilter on the radio gave him more than sufficient evidence as to the deep evil of fascism. So when South Africa declared war on Germany (itself an interesting political event), he left his job as a primary school teacher for the uncertainty of life as a soldier. There were hundreds of thousands like him across the world. The monuments on Liverpool’s waterfront to the sailors of different nationalities who died in the merchant navy during the battle of the Atlantic provide an everyday reminder to these volunteers. Continue Reading »


I made my first New Year’s resolution on December 31, 2013: to only undertake reviews for open access and learned society journals.  This I have stuck to well, as I noted a year later for the simple reasons that it makes sense and it frees up my time.

Today I had a request to review a manuscript for Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports, and I realised that I need to clarify my position.

I am on strike. Continue Reading »