Trying to help

Had a bit of a rush of blood to the head.

Am off to Lesvos after Christmas to help out with the refugees for a week. Tickets and hotel booked.

I’m not actually doing it to raise money. I’m paying for it myself and to be honest, I may well end up staying in my hotel bedroom trying to get the wifi to work and pretend things aren’t as grim as they are outside – but if you like the work the real aid-workers do, I’m sure they’d appreciate your support.

Mischief on the Moral High Ground

Thoroughly enjoying Jonathan Smith’s “The Learning Game“. This anecdote is from his childhood. His Uncle Bert, a haemophiliac, always stayed with them.

“Every Christmas Day for many years we all gathered in his room for our dinner. After dinner, in my early childhood, we always played cards. I looked forward to this as much as to the turkey because I concentrated so fiercely and I wanted to win. The grown-ups gradually lost interest in the game and drank cider, with only half a mind on the cards. Taking full advantage of that, I usually ended up with the biggest pile of coins, and as the pile grew I pictured the fountain pen I was going to buy. A Platignum pen, or at least I think that’s what it was called. Anyway, I had seen them in the shops.
Uncle Bert, impressed by my judgement and my memory for the cards, egged me on. Continue reading Mischief on the Moral High Ground

7 Year old raises £50K for Haiti

This is one of the most cheering stories I have heard for a long, long time.

Charlie, who is now 7, has decided that he needs to raise some money to help those affected by the disaster. In order to do this he has decided to do a Sponsored Bicycle ride around our local park – South Park in Fulham. He is aiming to complete 7 laps (about 5 miles) of South Park this weekend and is hoping that you will sponsor him so that he can raise money for UNICEF to help with their HAITI disaster appeal.

Parents angry at evangelicals’ charity scheme

Teacher union leaders are warning schools to vet the charities they support after complaints from parents about a scheme to send gifts to the developing world run by an evangelical Christian group.

Under Operation Christmas Child, schoolchildren are asked to fill a shoebox full of presents and wrap it up before the charity Samaritan's Purse distributes the boxes to children in Africa and eastern Europe. Last year 1.2m boxes were sent by children in the UK and the charity received £23.5m in voluntary donations.

A booklet of Bible stories is sent with the boxes to some countries, including a pledge that children are asked to sign to "become God's child today", attend church, read the Bible and convince friends to do the same.

Samaritan's Purse is part of an American evangelical organisation run by the Rev Franklin Graham, who has called Islam "a very wicked and evil religion".

Source: here

BBC NEWS | Tories back ‘Teach First’ scheme

The Conservatives say they would divert funding to expand a scheme that sees bright graduates training on the job as teachers before working in industry.

They say the Teach First scheme could then operate throughout England and in primary schools.

This and similar programmes would be tapped for expertise to turn failing schools in to Academies.

The government said it was already doubling programmes to fast-track the best graduates into teaching.

Teach First is a charity that trains new graduates to teach in "challenged" secondary schools.

It recruits, trains, places and supports more than 500 people each year in the toughest schools in London, the North West, Yorkshire and the East and West Midlands.

Source: here


Pretty soon I’m going to grow a moustache. Not out of personal preference, but as part of Movember. For a month I’m going to be growing, trimming and tending an unsightly sprawl on my top lip in aid of prostate cancer. Dad announced about 2 years ago that he had it, a number family friends have it or have died of it, and Georgia’s father died of it. 1 in 11 UK men can expect to be diagnosed with it at sometime during their life. The moustache feels pretty trivial next to all that, but if anyone feels like donating to a worthy cause (the charity not the tache), I’d be hugely grateful.

If you are feeling generous, you can donate via me here or direct to the charity in the UK (or others worldwide).


Charitable Searching

Just discovered It’s a nice idea. Half of their gross revenue goes to charities.

“everyclick allocates 50% of its gross revenue to charity each month. Each active charity receives a proportion of that sum equivalent to the proportion in which its supporters use the website relative to the supporters of other active charities. The activity of everyclick website users who do not select a specific charity will benefit all active charities on a pro rata basis.”

My first sensible leap of faith

Couldn’t sleep. I started thinking about grid thinking. Then started thinking about grid computing (which exists). And then started thinking I’m a dolt …. there must be more options for gridding your PC than just SETI?

And there are. A quick search found, who do a variety research projects (though just two at the mo). Anyway, my eye was caught by Graham Richards (a family friend) singing the praises of a system for helping in Cancer Research. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

So I’ve clicked a link very much like this –

– and have joined up. The agent took about 2 minutes to download and install, and with a diagram very much like this –

– I can now see how much my now rather clapped out laptop is contributing. [Sorry – no click to enlarge at this site]. also has an option for teams, so you and your company/organisation/friends can pool resources. I think I’ll see if I can get one started at Templeton, but thought that for my home set-up, I’d keep one for bloggers and the like,. Anyway, I’ve set up a team for anyone who finds it and feels like chipping in. [Details below]

At the moment, I’ve processed 9 out of 30 Ligands. Erm, I’ve no idea yet quite what that means, but it can’t help but give me sweeter dreams. Night night.

(If you want to join, you need to download the agent by clicking on either of the images above and then click here. I’m afraid I struggled for a name that was in anyway original so I called it “A Social Network”. Ho hum.)