Seat-giving: TfL gets another good idea

December 29, 2016


A good idea often benefits from positive add-on suggestions which nudge it further. Take London for Transport’s seat-giving idea, for example

London for Transport has tested an idea for a Please offer me a seat card. It received a substantial level of support. The idea is yet another example of creative thinking. It builds on a previous idea, Baby on Board for pregnant mothers,

This kind of YES AND thinking, is encouraged in courses on creative problem-solving which also support idea-building through other trigger phrases  such as ‘what’s good about it?‘ (WGAI )

In that spirit, I found myself asking another trigger-phrase ‘In What Ways Might We . . .?‘ (IWWMW )

What if the Offer a Seat card idea was combined with:

A little thank you for seat donators?


Nomination for seat-giver of the week (SGOTW)?

A positive take

In times of general gloom, a new idea faces more negative reactions, and faster. I have shared some such reactions to recent political events. So, as National Independence Day, and Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches on January 20th , we all have time to practice some of these life-enhancing exercises.

The Organizational Psychology of Sport: Preliminary Review

December 27, 2016



The Organizational Psychology of Sport edited by Christopher Wagstaff explores the nature of sports leadership and the way in which organizational psychology can help in the study and application of sport. It shows considerable fit with the approaches found in the Dilemmas of Leadership textbook

Last year I added a chapter on sports leadership to the third edition of Dilemmas of Leadership. I identified three key issues for the chapter:

Cultural and personal identity through sporting engagement

Developing sporting excellence

Distributed leadership in sports management

These and other dilemmas are to be covered in contributions to be found in Wagstaff’s impressive text.

For sports management courses, The Organizational Psychology of Sport is worth considering for a core text, with Dilemmas of Leadership (or its Chapter 11) on the course reading list.

Please contribute to the review discussions

A more comprehensive review is being prepared. I welcome contributions from LWD subscribers.

Tidings of Comfort and Snow

December 25, 2016


2016 exits stage left. Gradually the memories fade with the lights. Now only a few images and sounds remain . . .

Storms. We had a few, from June through to September [above, Woodford, only minor damage to car windscreens]

Then there was the amazing expanding traffic sign in Potsdam [worked by button in the roadway]


The successful advocate for the inclusion of Post Truth in the Oxford English dictionary


The Tweeter of the year, regardless of damage sometimes caused to the most delicate pasts of his body, (his tongue, what else were you thinking of?)



‘Hunting for Hillary’



… and finally, best wishes for a 2017 without freak storms, political victories for the misunderstood, things you wish you hadn’t left on trains or taxicabs, out-of-work actors bussed in to the audiences of Question Time with dodgy scripts, protected species not protected from deranged dentists



52 Tweets I won’t be favouriting

December 20, 2016



Here are 52 tweets (minus URLs) I collected in a 24 hour period recently. They were chosen for the elitist rationale of a dislike for other people’s obsessions. Many are obviously click-bait. Most display interests which I do not share with the authors or with some target audience

If the tweets have been selected non-randomly through some Twitter Bot, there is something going seriously wrong with the algorithm.  The tweets are listed in the order in which I came across them, rather than in some kind of league table of level of nausea they produced. I have added a few comments which occurred to me and which stopped me getting too dispirited in my self-appointed task. I have retained some idiosyncratic grammar of the original tweets. On a recount, the number came to 53, which seems like a trifling discrepancy probably unconnected with intervention by a foreign government.

What happened when a man pulled a long hair from a pimple

Anything shocking about what a man sees in a photograph of his wife

Anything shocking about what a wife sees in a photograph of her husband

What putting vapor rub in your ear on a cotton bud overnight will do to you

What eating three bananas a day for a month will do to you

What happens next after letting your baby sleep with a very large dog/snake/combine harvester/blue whale

When someone puts socks on their wipers

When someone votes for Trump then discovers something shocking in his grits

When someone works out the manufacturing cost of an iPhone 7

Quiz telling me how dirty my mind really is


Picture of a man of eighty who hasn’t showered in sixty years

Picture of a man of sixty who hasn’t showered for eighty years

When a man takes a closer look at his wife doing something and is shocked to see…

When a Russian injects his semen into an egg (doesn’t say what kind) with shocking results

What Princess Diana might have looked like today

What any former celeb looks like today

How buying 100,000 twitter followers will change my life

What doctors revealed about strange marks on a son coming home after a party

Insane nail hacks

Twenty awesome things you would never believe happen without photographic evidence

Nest of vipers

Twenty awesome things you would never believe happen even with photographic evidence

What happens when you rub stuff on to your face\anywhere else

Quickest and heartiest way to get rid of bad breath\bad neighbors\bad thoughts

Ways to cool down my burning tongue\burning anywhere

What amazing thing happens when you press your forefinger for sixty seconds

See what happened to a painful bubble on her skin which continued to grow

The best and easy way to get rid of blackheads

Eight craziest things to come out of the human body

Fatal Selfies taken just before death that will give me goose bumps


Things to do to my penis so I won’t need Viagra

The something miraculous which happens if you put an onion in your ear over night

What you shouldn’t let grow out of your nose

Perfect response on Facebook to rude woman calling you a “dirty biker”

Instagram star with 70 inch booty shares video to silence haters who cry photoshop (took a while to translate, but still no thanks)

Baking power has miraculous powers to cure diseases, it even whitens teeth

The simplest way to remove blackhead and get a glowing face

After losing forty five pounds this guy played the most epic prank on his parents. (Did he crawl in the cat flap with a sub machine gun?)

Book Review WET DADDY

Girl proves that big boobs are useful

Winter of discontent

Bizarre photos that will make you say WTF

How to Get Rid of Cysts without Surgery with these Simple Tricks. Goodbye Cyst

Man Wants To Be Buried Like A Pharaoh. But His Wife Has …

This Is What Those Weird White Dots On Your Face Mean

Men Can Have Superpowers Right Away. Amazing Ways To Become Extraordinary (next tweet about women?)

If You Put A Clothespin On Your Earlobe For 5 Seconds, This Is The Incredible Effect

It’s Very Simple! Learn To Pop A Pimple Without Leaving A Scar

People Come From All Over The World To Cuddle 500 Kitties At This Cat Sanctuary

Disgusting Medical Treatments That Could Save Your Life

Get Rid Of Inhalers! This Miraculous Juice Will Totally Cure Asthma Attacks

“The one thing that could improve the health of all Canadians”, see Dr. Danielle Martin’s fine new book.


Dirtiest Parts Of Our Body. Mouth May Be One Of The Grossest Thing Of Our Body

Velvet drawstring shorts. Use code TIGER for 15% OFF Order now

Nigel Slater’s chipolata and cranberry batter pudding recipe


For the serious-minded media studies student


There is a promising research topic here. Talk with your tutors about Research design, qualitative research methods, saturation of constructs, research questions.

Christmas Challenge: How would you do as a detective?

December 19, 2016

Discworld Gods Wikipedia


The following is taken from a short-story (University Question Time Comes to Urmston) to be published sometime in 2017. You are invited to see if you can pick up on the clues as the story unfolds and anticipate its ending

University Question Time Comes to Urmston

“If you read the transcript, Wendy Lockinge said “You would think it describes a rather typical broadcast of University Question Time. Most of you will be aware of the programme, and its celebrity moderator and literary figure Mungo Park. You will also note the appearance also of a senior officer Sir Bertie Farm and myself among the panellists.”

The Vice-Chancellor of Urmston University and former Celebrity Detective was teaching a case on forensic analysis of documents, at a Special Forces training centre, somewhere in the West midlands. “If we go through the transcript together, “she continued “you may be able to unravel the mystery it contains.”

Transcript supplied by Granola Television

Mungo Park: Hello and welcome to University Question Time, brought to you by Granola Television. This week we are on the campus of the University of Urmston which is situated just north of the city of Salford, and in the magnificent entertainment hall of Neverlands, in the Students Union building.

Our panellists tonight are Professor Wendy Lockinge, Vice Chancellor at Urmston, Sir Bertie Farm, Vice President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Susie Yup, last year’s winner of the regional journalists award, Tony Scrivener, also of the University of Urmston, and frequent contributor to this programme, Dr Julian Callender, Director of Research at Meniscus Laboratories, one of the largest hirers of technical professionals in the North West of England, and Dando Llewelyn, the animal rights spokesperson, and a graduate himself from Urmston.

As moderator, I will try to permit free interchange of ideas, while remaining mindful of time pressures, so that we deal with as many questions as possible from our audience.

And our first question is from …

Delia Clutch: Delia Clutch. This week, the owner of Sporting Gear was accused of treating his employees like animals. He said his workers loved their jobs. He then compared them with animals and used an expression I would not be permitted to use here. What do the panellists think should happen to him?

Mungo Park: Thank you Delia. Tony, would you like to take this question to start the programme?

Tony Scrivener:  A pleasure. I remember reading the story to which you refer. The self-made billionaire and founder of Sports Direct used rather earthy terminology. I believe the original quote referred to pigs being happy living in their own mess. Perhaps our questioner wanted to avoid the rather fancy scientific and medical terms for members of the even- toed ungulates species, claimed to be living euphorically in a faecal environment.

I suggest he should be forced to wear one of his over-priced products which are allegedly made by infants in non-regulated conditions worse than those he callously attributes to pigs in muck.

Wendy Lockinge: You may be surprised to know that I own and regularly wear an article bought from Sporting Gear. I may sometimes be seen stumbling around our excellent sports track in something that is fit for purpose. It fits me and my purpose anyway. If what the owner of Sporting Gear said was reported accurately, he is perpetrating a stereotype about pigs. Maybe he needs educating. I like Tony’s suggestion. Or he could sign up for one of our programmes on corporate social responsibilities.

Sir Bertie Farm: I hesitate to expressing a view on the basis of a press report I have not read.  If there is evidence that a company, any company, let’s say, is breaking the law, an investigation should be set in place. As for pigs, I do not wish to comment, either on the male chauvinist variety or on the quite unfair use of the term when directed at police officers.

Member of audience: Unfair to who? The pigs? [laughter].

Susie Yup: Just because a journalist reports something, it doesn’t mean it is wrong. The press, the so-called Main Stream Media, are all being tarred with the same brush at present. A news story can be distorted, over-simplified, of sometimes later found to be wrong. Quotes, on the other hand are the journalist’s life line to a reality. they are usually accurate, and easy to confirm. I assume the owner of Sporting Gear said what he was quoted as saying. He has a track-record of using colourful language. As someone said about the next President of the United States, he should be taken seriously, but not literally.

Dando Llewelyn: The owner of Sporting Gear was right to compare conditions of his workers with that of other creatures. Some unfortunate humans, just like other animals, are forced to spend their lives in unacceptable conditions. Even today, the pig, which is a highly intelligent animal, is often bred for despicable experiments, in the interests of so-called scientific research

Julian Callender: I must say there are journalists just as there are scientists and business tycoons who deserve to be criticized. And  there may even be campaigning student leaders who are as ambitious and self-serving as those found in other professions.

As a matter of fact, I agree with Dando that there are unacceptable practices in parts of the food processing industry. Also, that animal experimentation has been insensitively and at times unnecessarily carried out. At Meniscus, I am doing everything in my power to eliminate animal experiments, and restrict those we carry out so that the animals remain unstressed and suffer no pain.

Mungo Park: Thank you panellists. I wonder what the questioner thinks?

Delia Clutch: I think he should pay everyone a proper wage and give then proper job contracts not zero hours’ ones [loud cheers and applause]. And yes, he should be put in a pigsty to see how he likes working in s**** .

Mungo Park: Thank you Delia. I should remind everyone again this programme will be transmitted before the nine o’clock time for adult viewing, and we are obliged to remove any words considered likely to offend our audience or the broadcasting authorities.

Wendy Lockinge: Can I ask Delia if her interest in pigs is connected with the animal rights movement or maybe the vegetarian cause?

Delia Clutch: Both. I am a vegan. Also, I oppose animal experimentation. There are thousands of pigs given cancer every year from forced smoking of cigarettes. If that is needed to help solve cancer, we should ban just cigarettes. [loud applause]

Mungo Park: We have debated that more than once, and will no doubt do so again. Now, can we have the next question?

Wendy Lockinge gave her audience time to scan the case material. “That’s the start of the transcript. Did any of you see what made me suspicious about what was going on?”

A Christmas puzzle

What do you think might be going on? Do let me know. All replies will be acknowledged (unless there is a silly Denial of Services attack by unknown forces).

New readers may want to learn more about many of the characters in the story by clicking here.



Trump’s silence on Aleppo’s plight, Boris Johnson’s speech to Parliament

December 15, 2016


The humanitarian crisis taking place in Aleppo is rendering politicians speechless, or worse, ill-judged in their speech-making

The last reference I have to Donald Trump commenting on the bloody battle waging over Aleppo, was in the third Presidential debate. At the time his answer was seen as rambling and unconvincing. In it he managed to conflate some unpleasant truths with a few less convincing assertions:


Everyone thought he [Assad] was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. Now [Assad] has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS. But they have other things because we’re backing, we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it’s not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy. But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she [Hillary Clinton] did nothing, we’d be in much better shape.


Which, as far as I can see is a case clumsily put, but a case. I happen to disagree about almost everything, except the widely-accepted view that Assad has been strengthened by overt support from Russia and Iran. But much of the statement is irrelevant for the present crisis. There is no direct mention of Aleppo, or of the humanitarian crisis which is developing by the hour.

On speaking out

Fast forward. Boris Johnson, our Foreign Secretary has been in the headlines, speaking more clearly about the iniquities of actions by the Saudi rulers (last week) and now of the Assad initiative backed by Iran and Russia to re-establish control over Aleppo [emergency commons debate, Tuesday 15th December, 2016].

He was sharply rebuffed by a spokesperson for the Prime Minister over his ‘undiplomatic’ remarks over Saudi Arabia. Will he also be criticised for his remarks over Allepo? Once again, his remarks stood out in contract with those of the other speakers in the debate. In general, there was cross-party acceptance of the suffering of the trapped civilian population. The language was seeing to put pressure on the Assad regime, perhaps via his new supporters from Russia and Iran.

Boris Johnson chose to use a graphic description of the vile nature of barrel-bombs.


After five months of siege and almost a year of bombardment, we are now reaching the end of the siege of Aleppo, and Assad’s forces are doing their utmost to stamp out the last embers of revolt. The dictator’s militias have carved paths of destruction through crowded streets destroying hospitals, severing water supplies and herding thousands of people from their homes

I know that time is short, but it is worth reminding the House of exactly what a barrel bomb is and why it makes such a hideous weapon. Imagine a metal drum filled with petrol and explosives, and laced with nails and jagged shards of metal. These objects—[Interruption.] People watching and listening around the world may not know what they are. These objects are loaded on board helicopters, which then hover over civilian areas. The men on the helicopters simply light the fuses of the barrels before rolling them out of the door, leaving them to fall to the ground where they shred and incinerate any human being with range. There is no guidance system or targeting. Barrel bombs have no military purpose; they cannot be dropped near a frontline for fear of striking friendly forces. Their sole purpose is to murder civilians. Scores of these awful weapons have been used against the people of eastern Aleppo by Assad every day


He went on to criticize Russia and Iran for their complicity in the conflict, and in their veto of a recent UN resolution calling for action in Aleppo.

Boris was speaking ‘truth to power’. Unfortunately, he has power to act through diplomatic channels. He may not be making his future contribution in that role any the easier.


To be continued

Althea Efunshile: A case of selection bias?

December 13, 2016



A decision to reject the appointment of Althea Efunshile as a non-executive board member of Channel Four by Secretary of State Karen Bradley has fuelled a controversy about conscious and unconscious biases in the selection process

The story hit the headlines recently as it emerged that Althea Efunshile was the only non-white candidate on the short list, was highly recommended by a previous minister of culture, and appeared to have considerable talents that would have made her a strong candidate.

Unconscious bias?

The Guardian offered a mild rebuke in a Leader column [8th December 2016] arguing the possibility of unconscious bias of interview panellists. In an article on the same day, the paper set a more outraged tone:

Synopsis of the Guardian article:

The former culture minister David Lammy has said the decision to block the appointment of a black woman to the all-white board of Channel 4 “beggars belief” and has called for the precise reasons to be revealed.

The former deputy chief executive of Arts Council England Althea Efunshile was informed last week that her appointment had been blocked by the secretary of state, Karen Bradley.

This was despite it being recommended by regulator Ofcom, which is tasked with finding, vetting and appointing Channel 4’s board members and it having the support of the broadcaster’s chairman, Charles Gurassa.

[Mr Lammy] who is currently chairing the all-party review of racial bias in the criminal justice system, said the case raised important questions.

An advertisement seeking non-executive directors for the Channel 4 board was published in the spring and, in June, the Guardian understands, Efunshile was contacted by headhunters about applying. An interview then took place in July with the panel chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson, chair of Ofcom. The interview would appear to have gone extremely well as her name was quickly put forward to the DCMS for rubber-stamping.

She was recommended with two others also with strong business backgrounds, who were later ratifiedOver the summer the roles were advertised again and in September two further names, were submitted by Ofcom.

Ms Efunshile was later informed by headhunters that her appointment had been blocked because she did not meet the criteria laid out in the original job application. The other four candidates were formally appointed the following day.

Insensitivity, or conscious biases?

I suggest that the explanation of the effect of unconscious bias is hardly convincing. It could hardly have escaped notice that the board was lacking in female and non-white members (no-women, no persons of colour). A more plausible explanation is that of conscious bias.

Appointment by box ticking

Another convincing explanation lies in the practice of reducing the process to box ticking against specific critieria to be found on the job application document. This may actually succeed in reducing unconscious bias, but does nothing to address the tin-eared insensitivity displayed by compliant appointment boards.

I understand such processes are to be found elsewhere in sports management, and have spread even to the search for England football managers.

Brilliant end to the world chess championship

December 7, 2016


Magnus Carlsen retained his title as world champion in the most spectacular fashion

The end came as commentators were predicting that Magnus was losing the psychological battle. His play had become error-prone as time and again his opponent Serge Karyakin wriggled out from a nearly losing position.

The players had already completed the twelve full-time games, ending at six all.  Time and again the challenger had struggled then secured a draw, as Magnus failed to convert his pressure into a win.  Chess computers were reported as showing a slight advantage for the champion disappearing as several of games reached sixty plus moves.

Then, towards the end of the scheduled twelve games, Magnus played uncharacteristically In a headstrong fashion, drifting towards a loss, recovering, then turning down an obvious forced draw for a risky attempt to win. It all went wrong under cool defense. Karyakin won, and with three games to go was ahead. Magnus needed a win to retain his crown.

Now it seemed unlikely.  People were talking about Ali’s rumble in the jungle.  Magnus had been brilliantly rope a doped. Then another twist. Magnus persisted, almost won, let the win slip, before facing defeat finding a escape and grabbing a win.  All square. Talk turned from Ali to Houdini. At the highest level, Karyakin had been swindled.

The final and twelfth game was a climactic climb-down. Neither player risked all. Spectators witnessed a brief non-combative draw. Commentators were scathing. Watchers who paid high bucks may have felt as swindled as Karyakin in the previous game.

For the first time, the championship would be settled in a contrived tie-breaker. At this stage, there were to be four Rapidplay games. If the result was two games all, there was to be even faster play until a winner emerged.

I missed much of the last evening’s play at a quite different chess event. A popular club member was being sent on his way to his new home across the Pennines with a farewell drink. On returning home, I could have watched a televised football match but the chess was more gripping.

A quickfire draw. I made the blunder of assuming that chess had ended for the night. Then to my horror I turned to BBC’s Newsnight to learn Magnus and Serge were still slugging it out.   hastened back to my PC in time to follow the sensational concluding quick-play game which was to end the contest.

At that stage the commentators of the view that Magnus was psychologically finished. He had drifted from yet another near win to a draw with offered sneak swindle chances for his amazingly resilient opponent.

Then, the astonishing end to the entire match. Magnus, apparently showing signs of repeating the pattern of losing a winning game, spent much of his customary time advantage presumably searching for that elusive knockout blow. Karyakin had penetrated white’s position threatening mate. In what seemed a reckless counter attack.  Except he had seen an astonishing mate in three.

A rook check on the back rank drove black’s king into the Corner where it was cramped but not as secure as it looked. tdeceptively secure. In fact the game was already lost.

His next utterly unexpected move was a queen sacrifice offering black only two moves, two ways of taking the queen. Each led to mate in one move. If the king took, the rook mated behind the king (the corner h8 square). If the pawn took, the other rook mated by taking a pawn on the f7 square, to the side of the powerless king. It is reasonably obvious with a chess board, and if you have been told here is a brilliant move coming up.

“Oh my God” a commentator cried. “It’s all over. Magnus has won. Incredible.” It was. In olde days wealthy spectators would have showered gold on to the board at such a ‘bolt form the blue’.

Unable to sleep, I began capturing the moment, writing down what had jI had just witnessed. It was nearly midnight, six hours after the quick-play games had begun.

See also:

Dramatic end to world chess championship

The move that won the world chess championship

Magnus Carlsen plays a Trump Card

December 6, 2016
 Donad Trump
Magnus Carlsen started his defense of his world chess championship title by playing a move which sent the chess world into a viral debate about a hidden message to Donald Trump
November 2016. The World Championship of chess reaches its conclusion as the world champion sits down to play a twelve game match against his challenger.
Magnus Carlsen, one time wonder kid is now twenty-five years old and arguably approaching his prime.  His scientifically calculated strength puts him at an all-time high.  Stronger than Bobby Fischer.  Stronger than Gary Kasparov. Stronger that his Russian opponent ranked number nine in the world.
The match has been promoted by Acis who have put up a million dollars in  prize money, and moved the marketing and branding of the championship into the twenty-first century.
Amid the razzmatazz of its New York setting, there are virtual reality displays. FIDE (the FIFA of chess) has accepted a twenty-first century speed-up with parallels with changes in other sports such as tennis. In earlier world championships, the match if drawn in games, was awarded to the reigning champion. This time a drawn match leads to more games played at a faster tempo (quick play).  If these do not produce a winner, there is to be one pulsating blitz game known as bullet chess.  There must be a winner by mate, resignation or time loss. Provision is made for the unlikely draw by stalemate.
The first game produced headlines around the chess world, and a few more beyond the chess columns. To understand the story, you need to understand a rather weak pun based on the name an unusual and rather rarely-played opening chosen by the world champion for the first game of the match. Its name is the Trompowski attack, or the Tromp for short.  Yes, you can see what’s coming.
According to NBC

Is the world chess champion a Donald Trump fan? It sure looked that way Friday afternoon in New York City when defending world champion Magnus Carlsen opened his title match against Sergey Karjakin with a series of moves that may have been a nod to President-elect Trump.

That opening series isn’t that commonly used, so it took several minutes for onlookers to identify what the Norwegian grandmaster was up to. The Trompowsky is a way to avoid a series of other openings that are heavily analyzed, echoing Trump’s own refusal to play by the conventional political rule book.

One match commentator noted that Trump had won earlier in the week and now the Norwegian champion was using a similar-sounding method. “It will be known from now on as the Trump-owsky Attack,” one waggish spectator quipped.

Trump raised the hackles of a number of American chess players last month when he incorrectly claimed that the United States does not have any grandmasters, the highest level of players in the royal game.Trump even managed to get the term wrong when he said, while criticizing the difficulty of the nation withdrawing from multi-lateral trade agreements, “you can’t terminate — there’s too many people, you go crazy. It’s like you have to be a grand chess master. And we don’t have any of them.”In fact, the U.S., with 90 grandmasters, has the third largest number of players with that title in the world out of all nations.

There had been an appetite for Trump stories, building up to his electoral triumph. This one has as little relation to truth as many of the others. Did Magnus chose his chess opening in any way influenced by a ropy pun?
The choice of opening was unexpected (one reason to chose it). But even Magnus, not known for being better prepared in the openings than his closest rivals, would have risked a capricious choice.
Or would he?
To be continued
To the suprise of most commentators, Magnus could make little impact on his opponent who continued to build his repuation as a most tenacious player of current grandmasters. At the half-way stage of the match, all games had been drawn.
Watch out for our next post describing the thrilling last day of the context which will go down in chess history.