Misquoting Harold Wilson’s “White Heat” speech

Usually Harold Wilson’s famous 1963 speech is quoted as something like Britain needed to be forged in the white heat of technology, or technological revolution.

Both of these are wrong.

I think Wikiquote has it right:
“In all our plans for the future, we are re-defining and we are re-stating our Socialism in terms of the scientific revolution. But that revolution cannot become a reality unless we are prepared to make far-reaching changes in economic and social attitudes which permeate our whole system of society. The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry.”

Why rewrite science to technology? Wilson knew about technology, but he chose science. And his audience would have understood the word at that time.

A good and honest short quote for this might be “forged in the white heat of this [scientific] revolution”.

It is a powerful view, given by Wilson, that it is the scientific revolution and the science that drives the world, and enables the technology, and it is the science that should be supported, and certainly not just the technology.

We can only assume that people who misquote are being deliberately mendacious or simply ignorant.

And it is a shame in this world of technology and Web Science that we lose the import of the middle sentence: that we need to be prepared to make far-reaching changes in economic and social attitudes.

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LinkedIn results on Google

Where to start with LinkedIn?

Well this is specific – the Google results.

I want to find someone’s personal or work page, and I put in their name, and get the first half a dozen results of different LinkedIn pages for people with that name (or another!). And none of them give much information if you click on them – they all ask you to sign up to LinkedIn in the hope of actually getting the details you want.

I now have a shortcut: -site:linkedin.com, which helps a bit – maybe I need to add -site:facebook.com to it…

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I did a Silly Thing

I had been spreading grit and salt with my hand (to keep my glove clean) and thought I would clean it and the bucket with snow. Big mistake.

Picked up a load of clean snow with the same hand. The pain was almost instant, and excruciating. By the time I had got to some clean water to wash it off, I genuinely thought I had damaged by fingers, although the pain was only in my hand, as all the fingers were now completely numb. I could see the skin was not in a good state, and guess that is what frostbite is.

Anyway, although I could feel it for a few days, there seem to have been no longer-term permanent damage.

But bathing my hand in salt solution that might get as low as -17C was clearly rather a Silly Thing.

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Hotel “Special Rates” for conferences

Yes they are – especially more!

They really look to rip attendees off by charging more than they would otherwise, but what really pisses me off is that the conference web site then gives you a link, with a special code, so that when you click on it you are identified as the person to be ripped off!

Example: Tonight, an invitation to
4th European Semantic Technology Conference 2010
December 2-3, 2010
Vienna, Austria
www.estc2010.com
The conference website gets me a “special” rate at the conference hotel (Marriot, The Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel) at €120 for a “Guest room, 1 King or 2 Twin/Single” for the night of 3rd December 2010.

Perhaps not too bad, unless you go to the standard Marriot reservation site at http://www.marriott.co.uk. Then you get an offer for the same room for the same night at €103, taxes included, etc..

Yeah, sure, I’m sure there are all sorts of complicated explanations about reserving rooms etc., etc., but in the end it’s a rip-off, and I have seen it so many times it really pisses me off.

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LinkedIn

I have always avoided LinkedIn – the idea of a site where I can’t see anything unless I join tells me me they don’t actually provide anything people want unless they are press-ganged.

But it is worse than I thought.

I really needed to contact someone, and the only email Google showed was on LinkedIn. So I bit the bullet and created an account (fu@glasers.org, of course), and happily went to look at his details. There was a tiny bit more, plus the offer to “Send InMail”. So I happily clicked on the link and…

“To send an InMail now, upgrade your account.”

WTF! They want $24.95 per month for me to send a message. Apparently, for that, I can actually send 3 InMails, which they tell me is $30 of value. $10 per message! And they actually recommend a $49.95 account.

Well at least closing the account was not too painful – only had to confirm three times.

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I have never, ever, had an airline upgrade.

My wife has, my son has, my researcher has, and it seems everyone I know has – even my suitcase has.

I have even been downgraded – yes, that’s right, they have a form which says “Involuntary Downgrade” – bet not many people have seen that.

And all the stories about how to get one just don’t work for me.

I have turned up early, with a Gold Card holder, who was going business. And I was Premium Economy. I asked, but still no dice, and that was the time they upgraded my suitcase and left me where I was.

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