Thursday, 31 January 2008


"Jobrapido enables you to search through over 500,000 jobs posted on job boards, recruiting agency and company websites. A UK site."

I like it. I did my usual "information manager, Northamptonshire" which on many sites comes up with a load of IT jobs which is NOT what I want and the geography is often completely wrong. I got three vacancies, all recent, OK they were for information systems manager but that will do!

No librarian posts advertised in Northamptonshire but on widening to Midlands I got one in Corby which is definitely in Northamptonshire.

I've not done a thorough check but for my money this one is well worth a using.

Spell checker not working -- I hope I've not missed anything.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Ten more interesting things I found

And it took me nearly a month to do so!!

No, these are, obviously, not the only things I found interesting but they are those things that interested me sufficiently to think that you might be interested too.

Lessons for bloggers from the "Death of 2007"
from ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse
I like reading Darren's posts although the idea that I could make a living from writing a blog, as he does, is still something that I find difficult to comprehend. OK, as with any other field, there's those who do it for a hobby, those who cover expenses, those who make a reasonable living, and then there's David Beckham! Darren Rowse is the David Beckham of blogging!
I actually wanted to retitle the "lessons for bloggers" into "lessons for people" since it's not really about blogging it's about living, and balance and understanding yourself.
The guest post was submitted by Dr.Mani Sivasubramanian from Money.Power.Wisdom and is well worth reading in full.
Dr.Mani Sivasubramanian is a heart surgeon using his Internet marketing business to fund heart surgery for under-privileged children in India.

Musical Challenge
from Coffee Klatch by pfitz
Do you want a musical challenge? I just had a friend email me a link to some online music tests. There are three tests available at

High heels: tottery killers (infographic)
from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
This scary-ass (and handsomely designed) infographic details the thousand and one ways that high-heels are incredibly bad for your health, posture, and long-term prospects. Link (via Lawgeek)

"I think religion is ineradicable," says Ian McEwan, "and I think it is a terrible idea to suppress it, too"... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily

As mild anxiety and passing sadness are put under the ever-widening umbrella of "mental disorder," attention is diverted from real mental diseases... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily

The Trouble With "Organic" Food
from 3quarksdaily by Robin Varghese Via Political Theory Daily Review, Bee Wilson in the FT
This is a tale of two pigs.
And if you have any interest in eating organic because a) it tastes better and b) it's better for the animals then you have to read this!

"At bottom," Martin Heidegger said, "the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extraordinary." And if not, poetry will make it so... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily

Pitter-patter of raindrops could power devices
via New Scientist Tech - Technology on 23 January
Rain has been ignored as a source of electricity, but piezoelectric materials can generate charge with every drop.

Probability theory has much to say about amazing coincidences, "miracles," that people take as evidence for the existence of God... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily

Moral principle vs military necessity. The problem is as old as the Greeks, but a history professor at Columbia was first to write a modern code of conduct in war... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily
How to wage war whilst ensuring that peace afterwards is possible.

A final thought from me
Not only am I suffering from a gut disorder (very recent) but I'm realising that the lassitude that I appear to be experiencing is possibly post-operative depression -- which I thought I'd got away with. Onwards and upwards -- I am telling my mind that, with help from the chemicals prescribed by my GP, we can get through this. Recognise it and then deal with it, admit it and get help. It works for me and that's all I need to know at the moment.

And I've realised that I have what some might see as an over-reliance on A&LD for the interesting items this month.
1) I haven't read Edge since before Christmas.
2) I try hard to avoid the overtly politically-biased postings on the basis that politics, football and religion are topics that should be avoided in general conversation. This post definitely fits in the general conversation category!
3) Nothing on BoingBoing seemed to be more than "ah" rather than "woo-ee" (if you know what I mean by the difference).

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Work Permits

Employment advisers and guidance practitioners will need to be aware of the new regime. Liam Byrne, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Nationality has announced the publication of the Statement of Intent of Sponsorship under the Points Based System ("Statement of Intent").

An article by Kamal Rahman and Steven Bostock on the Mondaq website provides a very useful summary.

Read it here

The PBS (Points Based System) is a significant departure from the current immigration system, as is the concept of "sponsorship", accordingly great care must be taken to ensure full compliance under the new regime so that employers and educational institutions alike are able to efficiently and lawfully operate within the new legal structure. We expect further clarification from the Border and Immigration Agency in the coming months and will issue further guidance at that time.

Keep reading -- I'll bring it to you as soon as I get it myself! No offense to Mondaq but ploughing through all the non-UK stuff and detailed employment law information is not what you need to be doing. It is, hopefully, what you're paying me to do for you. Yeah, I know that this blog is public and not limited to ADSET Members but maybe, just maybe ...

My health intervenes AGAIN

No unwanted details -- suffice it to say that the majority of the previous two nights has been spent in, getting to, or getting from the bathroom to the point that I gave up with the to and from in the early hours of this morning and dragged the duvet in with me!
Why is it that these things are always worse in the dark, when the rest of the household is, quite sensibly, sleeping?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Adolescent Health

from Librarians' Internet Index: New This Week

Fact sheets, data, and other material about adolescent health topics such as injuries, alcohol and drug use, sexual behaviors, nutrition and obesity, skin cancer, and youth violence. Includes background on the National Initiative to Improve Adolescent Health by the Year 2010, and links to related websites. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More ...

You will need to excuse or ignore the American bias on this site -- it was, when all's said and done, set up to assist librarians in California and is funded by the State. The researchers do not, however, limit themselves to items which are related to California and many of the items are of general interest.

Erratic lifestyle

I've been away from here for a few days -- you may have noticed although my blogging has been so erratic since "the operation" you may not have done!!

Anyway, I had my six-week check-up earlier this week, got well prodded and poked (ouch) and then got told to go back in two months and no driving or cycling until I've been seen again. Another ultrasound scan this morning to try to sort out this nasty swelling in the left groin which GP says is a haematoma and consultant says is "fluid".

Sorry -- a haematoma is a blood-filled tumour where it shouldn't be and blood is fluid, isn't it? Who am I to argue? All I know is that the damn thing is extremely uncomfortable and the sooner it can be sorted out the better!

Nothing actually hurts as in I'm screaming at it but ...

Enough of the moans -- I thought I was beginning to catch up but I started a proper to-do list yesterday with the help of a colleague from the local business club and, oh boy, was I wrong!!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Scale and efficiency in the provision of local government services

article by Mark Burridge
in International Journal of Business Performance Management Vol. 10 No. 1 (2008 ), pp 99-107 on 2 December 2007

This paper investigates the size of local authority fixed and variable costs and the extent of economies of scale and scope in the provision of local services. A flexible-modelling framework is used which combines elements of both short- and long-run cost behaviour and allows returns to scale to vary over the output range. The empirical work based upon this model suggests that there are significant fixed costs associated with the provision of local services. Local authorities exhibit overall economies of scale over most of the observable output range, with these economies resulting largely from the cost savings associated with multiple outputs.
(Original abstract -- full text not freely available)

Monday, 14 January 2008

Break from tradition

... although I'm not entirely sure that a tradition can be counted as such when it's only been in place for a few months!

Interest items in this otherwise "serious" blog are normally provided in blocks of ten rather than to a time-scale but -- I digressed, as those who know me realise is a frequent occurrence, from my daily "FreeRice" session into an advert (fair enough, the sponsors pay for the rice to be sent to hungry people) and found something for "The Bookmouse".

The Bookmouse is a librarian who has a friend (4" high, lives on her desk) called Giraffe who writes occasional posts in her blog. My digression found another giraffe, intended for young children and probably available only in the USA, which I thought Giraffe would like to look at.

Other readers may, of course, wish to look at a rather nice stuffed toy which is suitable for under-3s or not as the case may be.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Improvement for the FE sector -- consultation

I received an email recently from NIACE.

ADSET members in FE institutions or with experience of the FE sector may wish to respond -- as, of course, may other readers of this blog who have not yet "taken the plunge" into the network. Reap the benefits of a monthly newsletter, access to a helpline for guidance and information queries, access to Croner's legal helpline for a modest annual fee! Complete the membership application form or give me (Hazel) a ring (01536 526424 or 0779 627 3792).

Anyway, enough of the marketing. Here's the email from NIACE.
Dear Colleagues
I am writing to enclose a consultative prospectus that has been issued jointly by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) and the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA). This is a national consultation on how improvement services should be commissioned and provided for the further education sector.

NIACE has loaded the consultation document Improvement Consultation Document (PDF) to its website. Your views and comments can be sent by email, fax or post using the response form on the DIUS consultation website. The deadline for responses is Friday 25 January.

Alan Tuckett
Director, NIACE

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

CREDO Reference

I had hoped to bring you a copy of a short email that I received just before Christmas telling me about new items available through CREDO Reference. I wanted to alert you to what I think is a fantastic service -- the best reference source EVER.

However, I copied the text of the email into Blogger which proceeded to "eat" it -- and refused, point blank, to regurgitate my text. I went back to my "read emails" and, lo and behold, it isn't there either. Now I could have said, "OK, that's it, I'll wait for the next email" but no, that's the easy road out. I may be still officially "on the sick" but I'm not completely out of it -- yet.

So, what is CREDO Reference?
A portal (if that isn't too much of an old-fashioned word) to over 200 different reference "books" online.

Who can access it?
Anyone who pays a subscription -- or, in more and more instances, anyone with a library card and Internet access.

Members of Northamptonshire Libraries can search ... online reference library, containing dictionaries, encyclopaedias and other reference books on subjects varying from from history to science, quotations to music. Look up an entry in Who's Who, use the dictionaries and thesaurus to complete your crossword or view famous pictures in the Bridgeman Art Collection - CREDO Reference makes answering questions easy.

Maybe your own library service has a subscription -- if not then look at the trial, decide just how useful it could be, and lobby your library.

WARNING: Use for personal research not commercial purposes.
But, can anyone tell me where personal stops and commercial begins? This has always been a grey area. For me personal means looking at art, finding knitting patterns, solving crosswords whilst commercial is "how to build a thesaurus" and other things that I wouldn't look at if it were not for my work. Each end of the spectrum is clear but, as with the information-advice-guidance-counselling-therapy spectrum, the in-between bits are hard to define.

Red - Orange - Yellow - Green - Blue - Indigo - Violet
These colours are all clear in the rainbow but can you describe the colours where the hyphens are?

United Nations World Youth Report 2007

The World Youth Report 2007 examines the challenges and opportunities existing for the roughly 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world. Distinct from the 2003 and 2005 editions, it provides a regional overview summarizing the major youth development trends in the fifteen priority areas of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The report explores major issues of concern to youth development, including employment, education, health, poverty and violence. At the same time, it highlights youth as a positive force for development and provides recommendations for supporting their essential contributions.
Chapters: (PDF Versions)
Asian youth in the context of rapid globalization
Latin American youth in an era of socio-economic and political change
Overcoming the barriers of poverty: challenges for youth participation in sub-Saharan Africa
Labour force participation among youth in the Middle East and North Africa and the special challenges faced by young women
Tackling the poverty of opportunity in small island developing States
Labour market challenges and new vulnerabilities for youth in economies in transition
Opportunities for youth development in developed market economies: An unequal playing field
Ensuring youth development around the world: The way forward

10 more interesting things -- list started 17 December

I actually finished putting things into this page on Christmas Eve but as anyone who has ever had a haematoma in the groin area will understand (only too well) sitting down to think and write is just one activity too many! Reading posts written by other people, deciding "that's interesting" and marking it for listing requires some (not much) thought but can be done without having to do anything about commenting or editing -- that can come later when I review the list. The marking for listing activity can also be done in one of the only three comfortable positions that I have -- semi-reclining. The other comfortable positions are upright or prone, neither of which is compatible with using the keyboard although I have toyed with the idea of working on the laptop on the kitchen work surface.

Note to self: "Stop rambling and get on with it!"

Play a Game to Feed Some People
from Shifted Librarian by jenny
Please go play FreeRice right now. It’s a great example of using gaming for some serious good. Click on the answer that best defines the word. If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word. For each word you get right 20 grains of rice is donated to the United Nations World Food Program. "There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48".

I've set myself a "1,000 grains a day" target rather than a level but was pleased on one occasion to have got to 48 -- and then got the next word wrong so went down to

Shakespeare's art works like the cry of "action" on a film set, by sudden peaks of excitement and drama breaking through into consciousness... more from Arts & Letters Daily

A stunning essay on the way in which Shakespeare uses words out of grammatical context (e.g. "to companion me") and makes them work -- and the effect on the brain of the hearer/reader.
How "The Office" would play at Harvard
from Dani Rodrik's weblog
Graduate students at Harvard's Department of Government ("Political Science" to the rest of the academic world) have put together a video skit which adapts the British series The Office.

Dani normally writes on serious economic subjects (sign up if you're interested -- I find his writing always accessible unlike many other academic authors) but does lighten up from time-to-time as in this example.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, says Philip Pullman, "is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious". He argues with Narnia. "Tolkien is not worth arguing with"... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily

I think it depends on the way in which you are reading each of these "stories" but surely both are written from the "good overcomes evil" viewpoint which is hard to argue with -- unless of course you are Philip Pullman who manages to argue that the Catholic church (and possibly religion in general) is "bad" and a staunch dis-belief in God is "good". I, as an adult reader, prefer reading Lord of the Rings but freely admit that I have most recently finished reading through the Chronicles of Narnia.
Experience a Victorian workhouse online
Be not amused. The National Archives and the National Trust today launched a website that offers a glimpse into the life of a workhouse in Victorian Britain.
Thanks to PC Advisor

Real wisdom on trade
from Dani Rodrik's weblog
I give my last class on trade on Monday, and this is what I have asked my students to read. It is a piece by the Michigan trade law scholar Robert Howse, and it is one of the most intelligent pieces I have read on the world trade regime and directions for its reform.

Serious but very interesting.
Disney's idea of a "princess": spends her life in captivity or a coma, wakes up only when a prince kisses her. Of course, she has a line of tiaras and gowns... more
Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily
And those tiaras and gowns are likely to cost parents, grandparents and other present-givers more than a few pounds or dollars. That's because the princess phenomenon seems to have gripped our young girls. The articles argues that this
phenomenon is sexualising the under-5s and that "we" should be matching on the
Disney Foundation with pitchforks at the ready. My own experience as a grand-parent of two girls is that it's just a phase that is grown out of fairly rapidly -- certainly my just-11-years-old thinks that princesses are "stupid". "They just around waiting to be rescued and don't do anything to help themselves!"
Video: Stranded Dolphins Rescued
from National Geographic
A dozen dolphins stranded on a Tasmanian beach were saved by volunteers who waded through cold ocean water to make the rescue.

Unfortunately two of them died before the rescue attempt was completed but if
you need an antidote to the sickliness of Disney princesses then this is it.
UK Television adverts database
from Phil Bradley's weblog
This is a fun little site, listing an amazing 5,666 adverts to date. This does include the Cadbury's Gorilla advert (which if you have never seen it, spend 90 seconds or so of your life watching it -- you will not regret it!) Simple interface -- a search box and an A-Z listing. If you're into advertisements you might also want to look at the BBC news item on the Best Adverts of 2007.

Treaty and Charter texts
from EIAorg by Eric Davies
The text of the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community and of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union have been published in the Official Journal. The Treaty runs to 269 pages, including the various protocols and declarations, while the Charter text comprises 35 pages, including a 19 pages of ‘Explanations’.

No, I haven't read them but it's useful to know where to find them should you need to!

Friday, 4 January 2008


Yes, the headline is shouting at you as I should, of course, have written this post four or five days ago -- and maybe shouting makes up for the delay.

No, of course it doesn't. No excuses. I know that I am supposedly convalescent but that shouldn't have stopped me from writing -- or should it?

Convalescent seems to mean that although I can now walk as much as a mile (the limit before the op was about 50 yards!) I need lots of rest after the compulsory exercise. And because of a haematoma on the wound on the left groin sitting is the most uncomfortable position to be in. Hence the less than satisfactory level of posting.

I have, however, managed to (almost) keep up my reading of other people's posts which I shall bring you over the next few days -- probably without a great deal of comment.