Mary Beard is suspicious of HEAR

If you haven’t HEARd about it yet, as I hadn’t, HEAR stands for Higher Education Achievement Record.

Have a look at Mary Beard’s reaction, speaking from long experience. Her blog post is here.

I was interested in the first comment logged on The Guardian website that she links to. It begins:

A move away from the classification system is indeed to be welcomed. It is tired and anachronistic.

Many years ago, C.S. Lewis warned us to beware the person whose only criticism of something is that it is not modern.  Perhaps the Olympic Committee should look again at the tired and anachronistic system of awarding a gold medal to the sprinter who crosses the line first, and instead take into account all the times the athlete recorded while in training.

Places available for AS/A2 lecture day

I received this via the OCR community. There are a few places left for the lecture day (programme below). Cost £12.50. Lunch provided. Staff places free. Contact gburton(at) Matteo Rossetti, Head of Classics, writes: ‘The Harrodian is easily accessible by a variety of means of transport. Lonsdale Road follows the south side of the Thames between Hammersmith and Barnes Bridge.

Harrodian AS/A2 Level Lecture Day

Schedule for Friday 14th November 2008

9.30 – 10.00 am                                          Welcome coffee and tea in the theatre
10.00 – 11.00 am                                        Ways of seeing in Aeneid 4, 10 and 12
                                                                  Professor M. Leigh of St. Anne’s College, Oxford
11.00 – 11.15 am                                     Coffee and tea in the theatre
11.15 – 12.15 am                                        Rule 1: Don’t eat your guests
                                                                 The politics of hospitality in the Odyssey
                                                                 Doctor R. Cowan of Balliol College, Oxford
12.15 – 1.15 pm                                        Lunch will be served in the theatre
1.15 – 2.15 pm                                           Teenagers in Greek tragedy
                                                                 Doctor R. Wyles of NUI Maynooth
2.15 – 2.30 pm                                           Coffee and tea in the theatre
2.30 – 3.30 pm                                           Face to face with the Roman emperor
                                                                 Doctor C. Vout of Christ College, Cambridge
3.30 pm                                                   End

Caroline Lawrence BM talk ‘A Day in the Life of a Roman Child.’

Salve, David! 

I’ll be doing a talk at the British
Museum called A Day in the Life of a Roman Child. It’s not till January
but it’s booking fast. Every child who books a ticket gets a free copy
of The Pirates of Pompeii.

Gratias maximas ago tibi!

Archimedes drives river generator on Dartmoor

The Archimedes Screw has been put into reverse, as it were. Instead of ‘energy in, water level rises’, it’s ‘water level falls, energy out.’
There’s a video.


An activity centre on Dartmoor is generating electricity using a device which dates back to ancient Greece.

The hydro-electric generator at the River Dart Country Park, near Ashburton, employs an Archimedes screw.

Water flows through the screw to turn it and the motion turns a turbine to produce electricity.

About 1.5 tonnes of water passes through the screw a second and the screw in turn allows fish and eels to pass through it safely.

Fish migration

The Environment Agency said the River Dart was an important salmon river, so the ability for fish to pass through the screw has been described by those involved in the project as an important aspect of its green credentials.

Mark Simpson, from the River Dart Country Park, said: “There are so many sites in the South West where small hydro-power schemes like this could be utilised.

“This screw has proved that it is a very environmentally-friendly with regards to fish and migrating salmon.”

The turbine will be able to produce an estimated £35,000-worth of electricity a year.

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, philosopher and inventor who lived from about 287BC to 212BC.

He wrote important works on geometry, arithmetic and mechanics and is credited with inventing the hydraulic screw for raising water from a lower to higher level.

The country park generator uses a reversed screw, with water running along it from higher to lower ground.