There are 31 colleges that make up Cambridge University. This is a rough-and-ready, approximate map of the location of the colleges in the centre of Cambridge.
My favourite idiom in the English language is ‘It’s no use flogging a dead horse’.
In case you are not familiar with it, it is an idiom that means that the outcome is already decided and no further effort can change that outcome and to continue the effort is a waste of time.
I read somewhere, and I think it was either in a Philip Dick science fiction novel or one of Oliver Sacks’ books, that people suffering from schizophrenia have difficulty in seeing the illustrative underpinnings of idioms.
A schizophrenic would therefore tend to see the situation literally, with someone flogging a dead horse.
What a terrible situation to be in – to fail to see the meaning and therefore lead oneself down a path far from what the other is talking about.
Along with schizophrenia and missing the general sense of what is going on, there is the disease that Oliver Sacks wrote about in Awakenings, where people were in a kind of suspended animation, in some sense disconnected from the outside world and yet able to interact with it in limited ways.
Oliver Wolf Sacks was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author.
One of his books, Awakenings (1973) involved a novel treatment of patients who had been victims of the 1920s encephalitis lethargica epidemic.
The National Institute of Health in the USA describes the disease this way:
Encephalitis lethargica is a disease characterized by high fever, headache, double vision, delayed physical and mental response, and lethargy. In acute cases, patients may enter coma. Patients may also experience abnormal eye movements, upper body weakness, muscular pains, tremors, neck rigidity, and behavioral changes including psychosis. The cause of encephalitis lethargica is unknown. Between 1917 to 1928, an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica spread throughout the world, but no recurrence of the epidemic has since been reported. Postencephalitic Parkinson’s disease may develop after a bout of encephalitis-sometimes as long as a year after the illness.
It was by noting some similarities to Parkinson’s disease that led Oliver Sacks to intuit that treating patients with L-DOPA might alleviate there symptoms.
In the book, and in the film that followed, the patients are described as awakening by the treatment using the then-new drug L-DOPA but then heartbreakingly – falling back into the same lethargic state bordering on coma that they had endured for decades before being treated with the drug.
However, in 1982 Sacks wrote:
I have become much more optimistic than I was when I wrote Awakenings, for there has been a significant number of patients who, following the vicissitudes of their first years on L-DOPA, came to do – and still do – extremely well. Such patients have undergone an enduring awakening, and enjoy possibilities of life which had been impossible, unthinkable, before the coming of L-DOPA.
I use the word ‘goodish’ occasionally and I wondered when the word originated. It’s an interesting word in that it can mean a large amount (‘add a goodish amount of sugar to the mixture’) and can also mean good but not that good (‘He’s been goodish this season but he has a long way to go before he’s ready).
The Free Dictionary cites several sources and I am not sure without trawling through each of them individually which is the oldest. But this use of the word is from Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge – in which there is this:
Ay, but then you know,’ returned Solomon Daisy, ‘his house is a goodish way out of London, and they do say that the rioters won’t go more than two miles, or three at the farthest, off the stones.
Solomon Daisy, is the parish clerk of Chigwell, one of John Willet”s three cronies.
You blog, and someone reads your blog and comments, or reads your newsletter.
Or you sell something online – a pen, a book, a wooly hat, an iPhone case – and you get paid. You have the name, address, email address, and maybe some other information such as birthday or the customer’s liking for woolly hats. Surely, none of it is the kind of stuff that the framers of GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulations) are really worried about.
They are worried about people who have other people’s ‘sensitive personal information’ (racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health, or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation).
What happens in reality is that we all get swept up in the dust storm and have to comply. In the pre-digital age, whenever governments brought out these kinds of regulations, businesses went to see their lawyers and the printers rubbed their hands with glee at the thought of all those reprints they would be asked to do – of brochures and leaflets and notices – all the stuff that would be necessary.
But in the digital age where we do it all ourselves, I just see a pain in the behind for thousands and thousands and thousands of bloggers and small businesses when it is surely blindingly obvious that 99.9% of what is intended to be protected has nothing at all to do with those bloggers or those small businesses.
Double Opt-In In the Age Of GDPR
If your original opt-in was a double opt-in (the recipient signed up with an email address on your site and also confirmed their desire by clicking on the link that arrived in their email inbox) and then you don’t need to get consent again.
Double opt-in has been around for a while and the reason for it and the reason I say you ‘have’ to be double opt-in is that if you are not, then some malicious person could sign up with someone else’s email and you would be sending newsletters to someone who never requested them.
Emailing someone who didn’t request you to email them has been outlawed under the regulations (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) for a long while. GDPR highlights it and makes the penalties stronger.
Steps To Take For GDPR
For the benefit of those who need GDPR advice – this is my take on what you need if you have a website.
Is this the intended consequence of GDPR? Go to a page on a website and be confronted with a popover that hides the content. Don’t click ‘I accept’ for cookies. Instead click on ‘more info’ or ‘preferences’ or whatever is there.
Say ‘No’ to cookies and refresh the page you want to see.
Be confronted again with the same popover that hides the content. You know what to do this time because you have been here before. Click ‘Accept’ because there is no other way to read the article.
So what we have here is a kind of paywall that says ‘If you want to play, do it my way.’ Or to put it another way, it is forcing consent to cookies as the price of reading the content. Surely that is against the spirit of the GDPR?
One thing – Google penalises sites that use popups that cover content – maybe that will nudge webmasters to stop using popups that require consent as the price of access.
As the Independent reports
Across England, more than 4,000 seats are being contested in around 150 councils – including all 32 London boroughs, as well as every ward in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Mayoral elections are taking place in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Watford and the Sheffield City region, but there are no polls in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The hope of those against Brexit is that sufficient numbers will vote for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens (both of which parties support Britain staying in the EU) to make those in power think twice about heading for the EU exit door.
Why did the chicken continue to cross the road even when it knew disaster lay ahead?