New book on uncertainty

by John Q on May 19, 2008

Sorry for putting up a second plug in successive posts, but it seems as if, after the usual delays, quite a few things of mine are coming out that might be of broader interest than most of my academic work. I’m a contributor to a new book, Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Gabrielle Bammer and Mike Smithson. It’s discussed in this piece on the ABC website, which talks about Rumsfeld and ‘unknown unknowns’, a topic I’ve talked about before (here at CT and here on my own blog).

There’s lots of interesting views of uncertainty, in all sorts of fields, from statistics to jazz. You can watch a slowTV video (parts 1 and 2) or hear a more complete podcast of the book launch, with a public lecture on uncertainty and intelligence (in the CIA sense) by Michael Wesley.

One thing that is, unfortunately, certain is that the price of the book will be far too high for all but the keenest readers, so you’ll probably have to wait for it to reach the library if you want to read it – there’s not even “Search Inside” on Amazon.

"Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (The Earthscan Risk in Society Series)" (Earthscan Publications Ltd.)

You can, however, get 15 per cent off the UK price (save ten quid!) with this flyer

updateHere’s an extended ‘teaser‘ (4.4 Mb) with TOC and one chapter. More to come at the website of the book.

Becoming Drusilla

by Chris Bertram on May 19, 2008

I first became aware of Dru because she was a member of the Bristol Flickr group, and I was looking to buy a camera. What better way of deciding than to look through other people’s photos, and see what the ones I liked were taken with? So there was Dru, a slightly mumsy, middle-aged woman with a young daughter and a Morris Traveller. In other words, extrapolating from the various signifiers, I’d formed an impression of what Dru must be like. Then I met her, at one of our monthly get-togethers, in the Royal Naval Volunteer. And then she spoke. “Bloodly hell!” I thought to myself, “you’re a bloke … or used to be.” A very quick update of my mental image of Dru took place.

It isn’t very often that people I know have their biography published. In fact, through not paying attention again, I’d failed to notice that Dru’s was coming out. Only when a friend send me “a link to the Guardian”:,,2275803,00.html , with the question “Is this Flickr Dru?” did I catch on. Well, “Becoming Drusilla”: isn’t so much a biography as the record of a friendship, and what happens to it when one of the parties announces their desire to change sex.
[click to continue…]