blurred borders

As a woman whose business falls broadly within the technology sector, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations recently that talk about “women in tech” as if there were a clear dichotomy between arts and science.

Personally, I find it hard to view the world in stark black and white like that.
Continue reading “blurred borders”

plum loco

Perhaps it was more of a steam engine than a locomotive but, from the angle that top photo was taken from, it was certainly plum-coloured.

Its trimmings were in other shades, though, including the most glorious scarlet wheels with black and yellow detailing:
Continue reading “plum loco”

hawks and handsaws

There are lots of stories on the web about automated translation, computer-generated writing, etc. but I for one am sure it will be a while yet before artificial intelligence is honed sufficiently to be able to do some of the things humans do without a second thought.

This week, people were talking about Microsoft’s CaptionBot – software that identifies the contents of an image and adds a caption. You are asked to give a star rating to the answer, presumably so the algorithm can improve over time.

I’m not sure that even a single star is warranted for the description of this photo of the statue of Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon.CaptionBot says: "I am not really confident, but I think it's a group of men riding on the back of an elephant."

Whether the wind was southerly or north-north-west, it seems CaptionBot can’t tell Hamlet from Hannibal; I wonder how it would do with a hawk or a handsaw.
P.S. Just a reminder that my poetry collection Around the Corner from Hope Street is free to download from Amazon until tomorrow. See last Sunday’s DCTN post for more details and please consider leaving a review if you like the book.

capture that moment


Ellen Terry takes a selfie

Ellen Terry takes a selfie

light relief

Midnight Moths owl: Birmingham  Big Hoot Art Trail. Artist: Alyn Smith
When I told a friend that I’d been looking through old poems trying to find one to send to a competition with the theme darkness, he laughed and said I should find that easy: after all, I write lots of dark poems.

In fact he was wrong. The subject matter isn’t always the most cheerful, but I do tend to find a bright twist to things. Like the owl in the photo – the Midnight Moths owl from Birmingham’s Big Hoot Art Trail – I can’t help but see the stars.

Coincidentally, yesterday I came across the word eigengrau: the colour that we see when there is zero light.

It seems that even in perfect darkness we don’t actually see black: our optic nerves make us see a dark grey instead. Perhaps we should re-name them optimistic nerves. Perhaps I should write a poem about that.

fear of losing it

Actually, not fear of losing it so much as fear of losing them. Some ten years of digital photos (plus assorted translations, stories, poems, and other memories) stored on an external hard drive which is currently refusing to boot.

There comes a point, of course, where you have to admit that the past does disappear and this is just something you have to deal with.

I am currently taking comfort in the idea that “Nothing is lost for ever […] except for the Cathedral of Chalesm”, coupled with the fact that the little blue light still comes on when I connect the disk, so perhaps it is not altogether dead.

Some more recent photos, including this one, have not been lost:

yellow daisy-type flower

pizza again?

Full moon through clouds

All the recent news about the New Horizons mission has brought to mind a poem inspired by Pluto’s demotion from planet status in 2006:

In the dog house

My Very Excellent Mother used to be
the soul of generosity, and her beneficence
a universally-acknowledged truth.
Around the world, students rejoiced
when they recalled that she
Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

But as time passes, so it seems, the universe
contracts; mom’s liberality is capped
and scientists decree that students
will make do with

I’m banished to my room. I must redo
my fourth grade science project.

Apparently the latest discoveries strengthen the argument to have Pluto reinstated as a planet. I suppose that means pizza may be back on the menu.