Friday, 24 April 2015

I'm learning cryptography!

One of the brilliant things about working as a freelancer is that while some weeks I'll be run off my feet working a lot of hours, other weeks I have more free time to pursue outside interests. After a recommendation from a friend, I recently had a look at the large number of free courses available online at Coursera to see if any took my fancy, and managed to stumble across one on cryptography from Stanford University.

The course started this week and I love it already! As a humanities graduate, I haven't studied anything mathematical or statistical since I left high school and studying this totally new subject is really stretching my brain in all the best kinds of ways. So far we've already covered the history of cryptography, discrete probability and stream ciphers. Plus it means for the first time in many years, I have sheets of notes which look like this:


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Scrap Trident

As always with any of my posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge.

In April 2013, I went to the Scrap Trident blockade at Faslane in a non-arrestable capacity, to help with the buses and legal support for the event. 46 people were arrested for blockading both the North and South Gates, arrestees coming from a range of countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand as well as Scotland, England and Wales. There were also significant numbers of supporters standing on the pavement around the blockaders who did not get arrested but were there in the important role of providing practical and moral support as well as legal observers for those sitting in the road. The photos below of the 2013 blockade are all from Scrap Trident:



This year, a demonstration and big blockade has been called once again to ask people to show their support for nuclear disarmament in Scotland the wider world. Last Saturday (4 April 2015) was the Bairns Not Bombs Scrap Trident demonstration in Glasgow, attracting thousands of demonstrators to march and protest in George Square. I was pleased to attend and hear speakers which included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green MSP Patrick Harvie talk about the importance of getting rid of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system, and especially how vital it is to ensure that nuclear disarmament stays high on the national political agenda with a General Election coming up very soon on 7 May 2015.