Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-11-24 - 5:41 a.m.
I have been invited to speak to some Russians next Tuesday down in London. They are automotive managers and leaders some kind of EC funded educational experience and the person who might have spoken to them in our outfit is in Japan. I volunteered to step in – a lot of new data has appeared in the last week or so and it’s a chance to get some of it sorted in my own mind. Tuesday evening I am going to so Valentia flying from Heathrow so there’s some logistic logic. The HQ is a short step the Piccadilly line. The anxiety of making the trip has started to build – especially the funny travel and hotel booking arrangements – whether they will work.
I have started to look at the flute part from Debussy’s triple sonata written at the end of his life. The first thought it is that is similar to the TdecC in that it’s a wistful impressionistic recollection of better times – but it is less superficially rigorous and more wayward.
I listened to Richard Dawkins talking to Melvyn Bragg and others about evolution and altruism. I was surprised that it was regarded as such an opposition but apparently it was and I must have missed the point. Well I had not missed the point to the extent that I have argued recently that Hitler and Stalin concluded that Darwinism licensed cruelty as a political tool. The point that I had missed was that Hitler and Stalin were being coolly logical rather than just sadistic. Darwin seems to have worried at the end of his life that H&S might be coming along to exploit his insights unhelpfully.
Anyway as the programme unfolded I couldn’t help returning to the thought that what makes natural selection interesting is the other ideas that happen to be true around it. There were a couple of new words – epigenome and epigenomic. Apparently its all to do with chimpanzees or possibly fish. One starts with the observation that our genome is like that of the monkey or fish to a very high degree. The difference seems to be epigenomic – its how the environment activates bits of the genome at different stages – that’s what’s different between us, chimpanzees and fish it seems. Now suppose a chimpanzee is walking through the woods and he meets Heidi coming in the opposite direction………?
I am gradually finding the tricks on the Yamaha WX5 – it has a lot of clarinet/sax type keys that you work with your little finger or the side of your hand. They all work slightly differently – some extend the range at the top of the octave, some at the bottom, some regardless of whether you are at the top or the bottom. Once these devices have been mastered the unit gets a lot more useful. Its battery management – or lack of it makes it less useful – its all about being ready-to-hand.