Monthly Archives: June 2009

Back to the drawing board

Ever since I completed the MA in Philosophy at the Open University, I’ve thought about doing a PhD. One of the subjects I’d had in mind recently was free will and determinism: the thesis being, as I’ve laid out here, that they are not only compatible but essentially interdependent. I’ve been thinking about this subject and making notes for a few months. I then came across an article on Philosophy Compass, Recent Work on Free Will and Moral Responsibility. This pointed me to the book by Robert Kane, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will. There I discovered, not only that my great and original thinking had been done before, but that this had been said as long ago as Hume and Mill and as recently as Dennett.

This, of course, points up the problem of doing an MA without the preceding undergraduate work. I shall finish the book before attempting to think of any further problems in free will that I might attempt!

And, I still have the idea of what might a robot mind look like: I’m almost afraid of looking into that subject now :).


I was sat on the train to London this morning, laptop out and doing some work. A woman got on at Leicester and sat opposite me – diagonally opposite fortunately, so I was still able to keep my legs stretched out. She seemed pleasant, didn’t acknowledge me but sat down, got her own laptop and papers out and started looking over some printed figures. She had nice features, looked like someone used to telling others what to do but also looked like someone who was able to smile and laugh with others. The ??? woman came along shortly after the train left Leicester (what do they call the people who check your tickets on trains now? I’m sure they aren’t conductors and ticket collector doesn’t sound right any more either.). Woman opposite got out her travel pass (so obviously a regular journey for her) and held it open ready. But she continued reading her notes right up until the train woman had reached her, checked her ticket and passed. At no time did she acknowledge or look at the other woman. Was her work so important that five seconds taken out to smile at someone would bring down her company? I don’t think so. Manners, people. A little politeness costs nothing but makes others’ jobs a lot more pleasant.

Libraries galore

Just a link but a very worthwhile one:

Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries | Curious Expeditions


Well, this prat is keeping up his ESWC record. Those who remember the multi-coloured eyes I was sporting on return from Tenerife and ESWC 2008 will not be surprised to learn that I’ve taken another tumble over here. Nowhere near as serious this time. Was walking along the plastic pathing spread along the beach (shingle) between the hotel Maggie and I are staying in and the one the conference is held in and went to give way to someone carrying a couple of glasses, tripped on the broken plastic strips and went sprawling. Scraped up hands and knees with right knee bloodied but nothing serious – one plaster and no concussion! Hopefully will make it back to the UK in one piece with no more pratfalls.

Semantic Wikis

I’m typing this up sitting at a poolside bar with a glass of Mythos (local beer, very nice, but served in Stella glasses!). Could almost be on holiday – well, except for being the dork with a laptop open and having only two weeks to get an outline proposal written up which not only satisfies all the partners to the bid but is attractive to funders. Still – bit nicer view than the window out the AstroGrid basement at Leicester.

Was in the Semantic Wiki Workshop today (Monday 1st – our anniversary btw – in case I get this posted late) which I wanted to attend because the JISC Semantic Technologies Working Group will be discussing how it moves forward after I get back and one item on the agenda will be to set up a wiki for ourselves. Would be only appropriate for us to ‘eat our own dogfood‘.

There were several interesting presentations and it sort of narrowed down the ideas for platforms to use. The most obvious is of course Semantic MediaWiki: it is the oldest (AFAIK) and certainly the most well known (which might be why there were no presentations on it, only one extension to it). KiWi looks pretty good (and not just because of the antipodean name and icon). AceWiki uses a controlled natural language but I found the idea of a ‘controlled wiki’ something of a contradiction in terms. KnowWE looks quite extensible and is based on the popular JSPwiki platform.

I think I’ll look further into KiWi and KnowWE: see if either are available for deployment outside their projects and how stable they are right now. Otherwise it’ll probably be Semantic MediaWiki.

Note to self: look at how KnowWE are synching with JSPWiki: if and how often and how conflicts are handled.

Really tagged

I’ve just been RFIDed. At ESWC the Tagora project is providing RFID badges which people can link to their social system usernames (delicious, Flickr, Facebook etc). Everyone is shown on a map, you can find people with similar interests etc,  by going to the page.

Wireless here is dire so won’t be saying much.