I may not be who I think I am

A simple way to be yourself and tell the future and the disappearance of Professor Brian Cox.

Recently one of my customers at the Admiral Storage Facility, who is, it seems, a regular reader of this blog, brought in a copy of a book with the rather amusing title: “How to be Yourself”.

It struck me as rather an interesting proposition since as far as I know, I am, and always have been, myself.  The thought of me actually being someone else is simultaneously slightly worrying and genuinely exciting, although by and large it is an issue which I will probably resist.

The book turned out to be one of those tomes on self-actualisation – and perhaps a better title would have been, “How to make the most of the qualities you have been granted at birth” although I do recognise that my title lacks a little of the pizzazz that the actual title has.

I didn’t actually get to read the book but the whole episode reminded me of my experience a little while back on buying a Canon Pixma MP282 printer (as these things have a habit of doing).  The instructions told me to remove the protective materials that the printer was wrapped in, but warned me in no uncertain terms that:

The tape and protective materials may differ in shape and position from what they actually are.

I was still pondering that one when another regular client presented me with a DVD which said on the box that it contained a set of exercises that would improve my poor memory, lack of concentration and emotional instability.

Now I’m not sure that my emotional state is any more or less stable than anyone else’s, but I did recently read that children who sing a lot in school tend to raise their IQ, while people who engage in surf boarding are significantly less likely to get dementia in later life.  Which suggests that the most unlikely activities can have an impact on one’s life.

So being open to all possibilities I took a peek at the DVD and found that it contained a film of a man holding his left ear lobe with his right hand and his right ear lobe with his left hand and then doing squats over and over again.

Would that improve poor memory, lack of concentration and emotional instability?  I am not too sure, but it certainly made me laugh a lot, and I have read that laughter can indeed do all sorts of good things in terms of mental well-being.  People who genuinely laugh a lot, I am told, do have a more balanced vision of life, enjoy life more, live longer, are mentally and physically healthier than their non-laughing counter-parts, and tend to have more friends to boot.

And I am quite sure this approach to having a jolly good chuckle clearly doesn’t include cynically laughing at other people’s misfortunes, but rather reflects the life view of people who are laughing along with others at funny things.

Contemplating all this, I was struck by how very different such notions are from what I was taught in science at school.  Not one of my teachers told me that I ought to laugh a lot – indeed I can well remember being told not to laugh on quite a few occasions.

That makes me conclude that schooling in my time involved stopping people having a balanced life.  And I had the opportunity to check up on this while at a birthday party for a friend at the weekend.  A dozen of us, having raised our glasses to the birthday boy, got into discussion about school days, and not one of us confessed to having enjoyed school life.

However I wonder if all that is changing, for this week I saw a press release that announced that thousands of schools had competed to win a “Big Bang” lesson from TV Scientist Professor Brian Cox OBE, Advanced Fellow of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester.

Reading on I saw that Professor Cox was “on a mission to turn one lucky school class into budding astrologers.”

That struck me as rather odd, since I have always thought that astrology (i.e. fortune telling via the stars) existed primarily to give economics forecasting a good name.  The notion that Professor Cox and the University of Manchester are getting their collective hands dirty with such a dubious art (I can’t call it a science) is somewhat worrying – unless it is part of a new programme to make sure all school students have a jolly good laugh.

Mind you, my local Morrisons supermarket has recently been advertising two types of butter – one is “unsalted” and the other is “natural”.  That suggests that “natural” now means “with added salt”, which is probably even more drôle than anything that Professor Cox and his visionary cronies are doing.

Unless all that stuff about gravitational waves and two giant black holes colliding with each other that we heard about recently actually means that time travel has now been invented and we can shuffled forwards and backwards in time to an era when unsalted meant “natural” and Professor Cox is Gypsy Rose Lee in a tent near the fairground.

Maybe that business of jumping up and down while holding one’s earlobes is not quite so crazy after all.

You can find more information about our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk.  Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@archive-document-storage.co.uk


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There is a time for all things

When time moves backwards and books are read before they are written, a business opportunity strikes.

For reasons that I fear will not become apparent during the course of this article, one of my customers has stored, at the Admiral Storage Facility, a copy of the 2005 Copyright Act of Ghana.

It is, I am told by my customer who knows such things, a comparatively short document.  Short that is, when compared to the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 which runs to 306 sections and eight schedules.

Short too compared to the US Copyright Law of December 2011 (dedicated to Marybeth Peters, the eleventh Register of Copyrights of the United States, who served in that capacity from 1994 until the end of 2010), which made me think – why don’t we dedicate Acts of Parliament to individuals?

Perhaps we could have dedicated the Theatres Act 1968, which got rid of government censorship of all theatrical performances, to Christopher Marlowe. But I digress.

The US Copyright Law of 2011 is more succinct than its British counterpart as it runs to 360 pages.  But both are beaten hands down by the Ghanaian Act which gets through the whole messy business of who owns what in the world of copyright in just 32 pages.

But lest you should think that my customer collects Copyright Acts, let me assure you, that isn’t true.  He collects unusual publications that stretch the imagination.

Now at this point I could forgive you if you were feeling a little bemused.  A Copyright Act that stretches the imagination?  Surely not!

But indeed it is so.  For this Act gets particularly excited about anonymous works of literature, of which apparently there are many in Ghana, perhaps because of fear of censorship and reprisals being taken out on an author who gets a little too carried away with his/her subject.

On such published materials the Copyright Act tells us that the copyright is valid over a period of “70 years from the date on which the work was either made, first made available to the public or first published, whichever date is the latter.”

It took me a moment to see the fascination of this little clause, but once I had got my thinking glasses on I began to perceive the light of day.  Here we have three dates:

●    The date on which the piece was written
●    The date on which it was first made available to the public
●    The date on which it was published

Now I can appreciate that the second and third of these two dates could be the same – the particular work being made available for the first time when it was published as a book or as an article in a newspaper.

But how could either date be earlier than the date on which the piece was written?

The answer must be that Ghana, perhaps uniquely among member states within the United Nations, has for some time been drafting laws which take account of time travel.

This in turn is generally thought to imply travel at a speed faster than light (at which point the standard theory of all-sorts-of-things as devised by Einstein’s lesser known younger brother Bob, comes into play and time does move backwards).  Indeed, there was some hope last week that the discovery of gravitational waves could actually have revealed this.

In much excitement I worked my way through the scientific press, looking for the news that the two giant black holes that had collided, had in fact not yet collided, but, rather like the number 38 bus, were due to pop over the horizon sometime soon.

But no, it seems not.

Which is a shame, because if time were to move backwards, instead of my customers collecting last year’s newspapers or indeed even papers from the last century, we could have found ourselves storing next year’s newspapers.

And if that were the case, I could stock up on copies of Sporting Life, revealing to a select few the results of the 3.30 at Newbury, Newcastle, Newmarket, Newton Abbot, and Nottingham several weeks before the races took place.

That could then have a profound effect on the gambling industry, and could, if I played my cards right, result in them providing me with vast sums of money not to publish the findings.

But for now, such is the matter of dreams.  I shall however be keeping a particularly close eye on any written materials published in Ghana which happen to make their way into the Admiral Storage Facility.

You can find more information about our facilities on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.ukAlternatively, you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@archive-document-storage.co.uk


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