earth
I have citizenship in two countries, something that sometimes is hard for people to understand. This is particularly true for people who have not travelled, or lived in another country, or who have not thought about what countries actually are in reality. A few days ago, someone asked me which […]

The fiction of countries


7273709990_dcd15024b0_b
This article was published in Diver magazine in 1990. In the sky there is only one moon, but the sea can be packed full of small gently-drifting moons, among which the neutrally buoyant diver can float like an astronaut of magnificent proportions. These lunar animals are, of course, moon jellies (Aurelia […]

Lunar beauty of the summer seas


Crowned eagle
We took a five days in the second week of August 2016 to visit Ndumo Nature Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Ndumo is located in the far northeast district of KwaZulu-Natal Province known as Maputaland,  on the border with Mozambique and adjacent to Swaziland where the Pongola River joins the Great […]

Ndumo: birds of prey with adaptations to the forest



Me in camo
I have not really kept up with posting to my blog, and it is costing me to maintain this site, so I have  two choices, either shut it down, or keep it alive and rekindle it. So, I have decided in doing the latter, and to focus on my interest […]

Rekindling my blog – nature, technology, critical thinking


Ubuntu
This is the code I ran after installing Ubuntu 16.04 on my new laptop. I recommend just copying and pasting the bits you want to use, rather than trying to run it as a script. Yes, you can use GUI tools to do the same installs, but they take  10 […]

My Ubuntu 16.04 post install “script”


That is not education
People talk about disruption in university education as though it has already happened. The learning of theory is easy to disrupt, the learning of practice much harder. So far, most of what has been called disruption (oh hum) is tinkering with the teaching of theory. That is not education, and […]

That is not education, and it is not disruption



arrows.resized
There are not a lot of videos on working with shapes in Libreoffice, and it took me a while to figure this out, so I thought I would share it back to the community since I have learned from watching videos contributed by others. It is also an excuse for […]

How to make circular arrows in LibreOffice Draw


Derek being aggregated
I was born in a small town at the head of Bonavista Bay on the island of Newfoundland, and finished high school at Smallwood Academy two years after the Catholic Church decided to children of Catholic parents to attend an integrated school. In 1972, two weeks after my 17th birthday, […]

What would universities be like if they were designed for ...


The passing of a caterpillar from male to female Diederik cuckoo
A few people have asked me how to take pictures of birds, and I often get asked by casual observers how I do bird photography. Most bird people know this already, so this is really just for the people who ask me so I can point them somewhere. I often […]

Bird photography tips – what you do



theory-practice
Universities don’t like being considered businesses, but they are, like it or not. Even the public ones. And the global higher education market is non-trivial, being one of the largest market sectors in the global economy. There have been attempts to hack this market before,  and some of them are […]

The next big hack – university education