Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Back to nature – sextants and stars

January 12, 2014
Using a sextant to navigate

Using a sextant to navigate

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted, but in my defence it’s been a busy 6 months. I’ve got married and changed jobs, but I am missing my writing… so here I am!

So far in 2014 I’ve been feeling depressed about not getting outside – January is a rather dank and grey time of year in the UK! A couple of things have cheered me up – one was hearing the ever-charming survival expert (or ‘woodsman’) Ray Mears on Desert Island Discs (I know, I’m getting old), talking about his love of the outdoors, and the other is my dad’s new blog about his upcoming book Sextant.

Both sing the praises of not letting too much get in the way of the natural world. Ray and my dad agree that while technology like GPS can be incredibly useful, it can also blunt our experience of the world around us. My dad’s book is a love letter to the sextant, a tool used by sailors for centuries to navigate across the sea by the stars – something I’m sure Ray would approve of!

Even though I was listening to Ray’s thoughts on my digital radio, sealed in a train carriage shuttling through the middle of London on a grey January morning, I could hear in his voice the feeling of being out in a forest, and his love of getting away from civilisation without all the equipment that the modern world has given us. When you get the chance to be outside you don’t want to be seeing nature always through the filter of a camera lens or a GPS screen. (more…)

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Post apocalyptic future: techno-starvation

April 9, 2012
Computer keyboard

Google: 'how to rebuild civilisation'

We had a power cut at my office last week. It really wasn’t so bad – most of us ended up leaving early. But it was scary to be reminded of just how reliant we are on technology – we couldn’t do anything useful without our phones and computers.

When the lights went out, we stared at the blank monitors for a few seconds (some howling in anguish as they realised they’d lost a couple of hours’ work). Then we all got up from our desks and milled around aimlessly, until we realised we weren’t going to get any emails or phonecalls to tell us what was going on. Luckily the pub over the road was still connected to the grid…

The whole scenario reminded me of a recurring nightmare I have about how totally useless I would be in that standby sci-fi setting – the post-apocalyptic future. (more…)