Boys – shut up!

Filed under: — Bravus @ 3:46 am

Really interesting spending this time with a bunch of teachers this week. There are three from Canada and the rest are from all over the US. One thing I noticed on the first day: we did a small group activity exploring the scientific and technological basis of some cool toys (things like little hovercraft and flying disks), and when it came time to report back to the larger group, if there was a man in a group, that’s who reported back. These are mature, experienced teachers, but without exception the man spoke up. One woman spoke in the whole session, and that was because she was in an all-female group. I tried (subtly) to insist that one of the women in our group speak up, but the other male in the group jumped to his feet first and reported.

I’m not all that doctrinaire about this stuff, but if I can help to sensitize these teachers a little bit to sharing around the roles a little more in their own classes, I think that’d be a helpful thing: and it’s as much about awareness as anything. They’re very willing – it’s not as though they believe that girls should be seen and not heard – but teachers often just fall into larger social patterns.


What happened to invention?

Filed under: — Bravus @ 4:30 pm

OK, I’ve already asked about my flying car. At the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum today, I had reason to ask again why we’ve taken our feet off the accelerator of invention and progress. Saw both of these (and lots of other amazing human feats of invention).

Check it out:


The SR-71 Blackbird

Sexiest damn plane to ever exist. First delivered in 1966, almost 40 years ago. Still holds the world speed record for jet-powered (as opposed to rocket-powered) flight: three times the speed of sound.



The first supersonic passenger jet: across the Atlantic in just over 2 hours. Started in the early 70s, almost 35 years ago, recently retired.

What the …? Where’s the next Blackbird and the next Concorde? Because they’re cool, because they pushed the edges of technology, and because they gave us something dream of and aspire to, we miss them. A new Boeing 747 or Airbus is just not the same: zero sexiness. It wasn’t even a war that drove these inventions (maybe the Cold War for the Blackbird, but British-French collaboration (!) for Concorde!) There’s just something missing in these days of the bottom line, or something else… I want it back!


Robots and Hubble

Filed under: — Bravus @ 5:01 pm

Today at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre was awesome. We didn’t see anything about the launch while we were there – it happened in Florida as we were driving out to Maryland, and was not controlled from GSFC. Apparently it was very successful, though, and it was relevant to what goes on there, as the story below will illustrate.

We were based in the ‘integration centre’, where satellites are tested with heat, cold, vacuum, vibration and even sound (with a 20 ft diameter speaker: wanna bet no-one ever brought in his iPod and hooked it up? ;)) then assembled in the world’s biggest ‘clean room’, wrapped in plastic and shipped off to be launched. We saw the enormous space simulation chamber, big enough to hold the bus-sized Hubble telescope, which currently holds the New Horizon probe. If it survives the 6 weeks at near absolute zero in vacuum, it will be prepared for launching in January 2006, and will be the first probe to get close to Pluto (in 2015!) and the first to send us back clear photos1.

We also met the guy who was the STOCC OPS director – the single person who relays orders from all the various people with an interest to the FLIGHT OPS director who passes them on to the astronauts – on the fourth mission to repair and update the Hubble Space Telescope2. He described how they had a 6 hour window to replace the Power Control Unit in Hubble, and as the astronout was about to leave the shuttle he noticed his suit was leaking cooling water, and had to change it, costing them an hour of their window, but they made it…

The other story is that, after the Columbia disaster, two and a half years ago, the then-administrator of NASA, Sean O’Keefe, decided that there were two conditions without which shuttle missions would not resume: there must be a mechanism for inspecting the tiles underneath the shuttle before it returns, and there must be a ‘safe haven’ for the astronauts in case they can’t get back. For most shuttle missions, the International Space Station (ISS) serves both purposes.

For orbital reasons, it’s impossible for the shuttle to get to both the ISS and the Hubble on the same mission. That meant that O’Keefe’s decision potentially meant the premature death of Hubble – a variety of its systems were on the way out, but the worst problems were some positioning gyroscopes that had stopped working and the original 1990 rechargable batteries that were becoming virtually useless.

NASA funded an attempt to put together a robotic Hubble maintenance mission: a robot3 would attach a new base with new batteries and attach the power leads, as well as switching in a new camera with newer technology and a number of other pieces of maintenance. This would probably be the last maintenance mission, but would have extended the life of the telescope, and the amazing data gathered, for at least five more years.

A lot of work – much of it by people we got to talk to today – and money (maybe a billion dollars) was put into planning, testing and evaluating the idea of a robot mission. A big part of the challenge was that Hubble had been designed to be maintained by humans, and humans are a lot more adaptable than robots, and have opposable thumbs and those brain thingies… Three independent review teams all said the robot mission couldn’t be done, but the people at GSFC thought it could.

In the final analysis, Michael Griffin was appointed as the new NASA administrator. He decided that the robot mission wouldn’t go ahead, which would have doomed Hubble, but he also decided to waive the ‘safe haven’ requirement for shuttle crews. This means that, assuming this mission and the next one or two is successful, there will be human astronauts maintaining Hubble, probably some time next year. The good news is that that means it will keep sending back pictures like this for a little longer:

hubble image

  1. Even with its awesome power to see deep into the universe, Hubble still can’t give us good photos of Pluto – it’s just the combination of it being too dark, too small and too far. New Horizon will slingshot around Jupiter and move on to Pluto in a 9 year mission.
  2. Slightly surreal moment this morning walking into NASA and seeing the huge ‘HST’ on the wall and wondering why they were memorialising Hunter Thomson…
  3. Not an android: something that looks much more like an industrial welding arm. Put into place by a modified version of Canadarm though – yay Canada!


Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:49 pm

(The inaugural one) is where I am this week, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

We spent this morning at the National Academies (of Science, Engineering and Medicine) including a side visit to the Koshland Museum and the afternoon at the National Museum of American History.

Tomorrow morning it’s the National Museum of the American Indian, and tomorrow afternoon it’s the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre. That last is the one I’m looking forward to the most this week, I think – especially since the first shuttle flight in a couple of years is scheduled to go that day. (More on the rest of the week later.)

The Academy is actually for middle school (Grade 5-8) teachers, so I’m kinda here under false pretences, as part of someone’s larger plot to link a school district with the University of Alberta, but I’m not complaining! Especially since Dow Chemical has very kindly agreed to pick up the tab for the whole trip… (Lucent Technologies Foundation is sponsoring the Academy itself).


It’s the Occupation, Stupid

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:59 am

…or “why invading Iraq was exactly the wrong response to terrorism”. This analysis1 from Robert Pape, who has studied the phenomenon of suicide bombings over the past quarter century extensively, explains very clearly the reasons for the bombings we have seen lately, and the reasons they are on the increase.

It’s not that difficult to understand, but it’s profound: the ‘War on Terror’ is very clearly going to increase terrorism. Now, it depends on how cynical you are whether you ascribe the prosecution of that war to a deliberate agenda of keeping voters in a malleable state of fear2, or just to incompetence…

  1. link is to Australian newspaper ‘the Age’ and requires registration – or the ‘Bug Me Not’ plugin
  2. is it just coincidence that the Patriot Act‘s limitations on freedom just got extended?


Immigrant Song

Filed under: — Bravus @ 4:39 pm

I went to a Job Search class Sue was teaching at Norquest College this afternoon to deliver a little guest schpiel on portfolios and their use in job interviews. After doing that I hung around for another hour or so helping the students work on their resumes. They’re all training for entry level office jobs as administrative assistants or accounting assistants, but the process of sitting down with them and working through their resumes gave me an amazing window into their lives.

I worked with a number of Chinese woman who had worked in heavy industry, or as accountants, or even as teacher educators, in China. But their education and experience count for very little, here and now – my heart aches for the fact that they’re likely to find it tough to get jobs because they’ll be seen as entry level secretaries whose English is not so good. That’s a huge pity, because they’re people with knowledge, skills and experience from life and from work that they could bring to the workplace and use to really make a contribution, if they’re allowed.

I have to keep hoping that employers are smart enough – and, with Suzie, helping to massage their resumes to make it easier for employees to notice – to realise this, and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of these amazing, talented people.


Pig Demons of the Bermuda Triangle

Filed under: — Bravus @ 8:42 am

Great title for a really bad movie, no? A guy on another forum claims, in great seriousness, that the demons Jesus cast out of a possessed man and into a herd of pigs, who subsequently lemminged off a cliff into the sea, in the Bible1 are currently imprisoned in the Bermuda Triangle (hence its reputation, presumably), and will be unleashed at the end of time to wreak havoc in the world. Any doubts about this theory are energetically rejected with the claim that the doubter fails to fully understand Revelation chapters 8 and 9.

It saddens and worries me, but talking with more and more Christians, I’m coming to the conclusion that the Bible is rich, large and complex enough that it is possible to project virtually any belief system onto it and find the proof texts to support it. Does that mean all interpretations or belief systems are equal? I don’t believe so, but it does make it hard for anyone with any bent at all toward critical thinking to be willing to maintain that a certain single interpretation is the One True and Correct One.

Coming to the Bible – and to other sacred texts from other traditions, and to the world and teachers and preachers – with a humility that recognises that all of us understand a tiny fraction of what there is to understand is, I hope, a first step toward dialogue and mutual understanding, rather than (best case) vociferously arguing about or (worst case) killing people for seeing things differently to the way we do.

A lot of my good friends have taken this issue and decided that all Biblical interpretations have an equal value, and that value is zero. I haven’t chosen to go that way, because I believe that the Bible does teach (among a hge variety of other things) the concept of loving others and trying to serve them – a concept that might just save humanity from itself. I recognise that Jesus is not the only one who taught this, and that there are instructions to love one another in other religious traditions, and ethical approaches to serving humankind that arise from atheistic assumptions. I still claim that a spiritual dimension to life is valuable… but the demon pigs of the Bermuda Triangle remind me to avoid getting dogmatic about it.

Mark 5:1-13
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.


Consider my mind boggled

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:51 am



Comment Spam Part 27

Filed under: — Bravus @ 12:22 pm

So, just spent another half hour deleting another 271 comment spam messages for penis enlargement and online gambling. Scumsucking pigs. I noticed most of them didn’t include an e-mail address, so I’ve switched it so you have to include both a name and an e-mail address to post. It doesn’t have to be a real one…

A Choice?

Filed under: — Bravus @ 1:40 am

So I saw a public service ad about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The tag line was ‘Your Choice, Baby’s Future’.

Is there really even a choice there? “Hmmm, I’ll have to think about this – should I drink lots of alcohol when I’m pregnant and give my child a lifelong debilitating disability that is 100% avoidable?” Surely there’s no choice at all to be made here – once the consequences are known, it should be all over.

Of course, it’s a reality that every pregnant woman has to make that choice, not once but every day for nine months, particularly if drinking regularly is her usual habit. But I don’t know, there are so many things that we present as ‘choices’. They do have to be chosen, but somehow talking about them as choices seems to make the alternatives equal in some way, as though it’s difficult to choose between them. Some choices should make themselves…


Metaphors We Live By – Moving On

Filed under: — Bravus @ 8:45 am

The first part of the title is, of course, stolen from George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s excellent book ‘Metaphors We Live By‘. Well worth a read, and if you get hooked there’s also ‘The Body In The Mind‘ and the wonderfully titled ‘Women, Fire and Dangerous Things‘!

What got me thinking about it was two things. Suzie is doing some study in the area of adult education, and as I was driving her to work this morning we were discussing with one another ‘what is your metaphor for yourself as a teacher?’ Hers was of a tree, rooted in community, nourished by experience, bearing fruit to feed the students, which I think is very cool. Mine was a tour guide, someone who knows the terrain very well, knows all the stories and the history, and can make the students’ (tourists’) experience of that landscape much richer and more interesting. A good tour guide will have relationships with the locals and introduce the students to them, and will also often be surprised by changes in the landscape. And it’s the students’ interaction with the landscape that’s most important, but that interaction would be impoverished without the teacher as a guide.

The idea of using teachers’ metaphors to help them think about their own beliefs about teaching and learning is one I’ve used before, actually, for several years in a science and mathematics education/curriculum course I taught online. So I’ve seen maybe 50 or so teachers’ metaphors for themselves as teachers, and explored the patterns and approaches that they reveal. It’s a fascinating activity, and even if you’re not a teacher, you might like to think about your own metaphor for the teaching process. Is it ‘jug to mugs’ – the teacher has the knowledge and pours it into the students? Or something else?

The second thing that got me thinking about metaphors this morning is seeing a cork bulletin board at Norquest College, the college where Sue teaches, with the label ‘Chat Room’ on the top. The reason that pulled me up was that I started teaching the above-mentioned online course in 1996, only two years or so after the World Wide Web really got started. At that time most of our students were unfamiliar with the web as they came into the course. So we used the extended metaphor of a school building to make it easier for the students (who were all experienced, practicing teachers) to understand the various modes of information sharing. So the web pages that were part of the course content was described as being like the classroom, an online bulletin board as being like the bulletin board in the school hallway, a chat room as being like a tutorial class, an e-mail exchange as being like a private meeting in the teacher’s office, and so on…

A metaphor is a bridge from the familiar to the strange: it helps us understand something that’s strange to us by comparing it to something we already know about. So I found it intriguing that now the metaphor goes in the opposite direction: the physical bulletin board in the Real WorldTM is compared to the virtual chat room, and it’s the chat room that is considered to be more familiar to the students, and used to make sense of the physical object.

It just goes to show the fluid nature of our metaphorical connections with the world – as what is familiar undergoes rapid change, our metaphors have to change with it.

Parenting Rocks – Final Mention

Filed under: — Bravus @ 7:55 am

Last time I’ll mention it here, I promise: just one more reminder of the existence of the Parenting Rocks parenting blog, now being updated regularly every Monday.


Big (Pentagon) Pimpin’

Filed under: — Bravus @ 12:01 pm

This opinion piece from the New York Times (registration required to read) hits a variety of issues. But the use of female soldiers in sexual situations in interrogation is just another part of the legal, moral and ethical mess that is Guantanamo Bay.



Filed under: — Bravus @ 1:40 pm

Governments have to be seen to be doing something. That’s why Tony Blair is talking about tightening borders and immigration controls in Britain after the London bombings, even though it is becoming clear that those who set the bombs were British citizens and wouldn’t have been caught by tighter borders.

It’s exactly analogous to the knee-jerk reaction in Victoria a few years ago when a carload of drunk teenagers crashed at 200 km/h and were all killed. Speed limits on the state’s highways were immediately lowered from 110 km/h to 100 km/h. Completely irrelevant in the case of those who drive drunk and break the speed limit, just a pain in the butt of those who have to spend an extra hour on the drive to Sydney.

I’ve talked before about risk aversion, and the spurious hope of a perfectly secure life. I don’t want to be callous, but how many Brits died this year due to car accidents as opposed to how many died due to terrorist bombs? Do you see a clamouring to ban cars? Life includes risk, and if we trade away our civil liberties in the hope of perfect security we’ll find we’ve spent something of great worth buying something that doesn’t exist. My wife, Suzie, never smoked, never worked near asbestos, had none of the risk factors, but still ended up with lung cancer (she’s fine now after surgery): life includes risk, it’s unavoidable. We need to minimise risk, but not at the cost of life and freedom.

This article does a pretty reasonable job of summarising the issues, although I don’t necessarily agree with it in all points.


Dumbing Down: Myth or Reality?

Filed under: — Bravus @ 11:12 am

So I was just watching a (hilarious and brilliant) interview by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show1 of Bernard Godlberg, the author of ‘100 People Who Are Screwing Up America‘. Apparently the great majority of such people are on the left politically, at least according to Goldberg, which makes me doubt his premise from the start, but I thought it was interesting.

Goldberg basically claims that standards – of what we’ll tolerate in the depiction of sex and violence, of civil language and discourse – have fallen and are falling in America (and, presumably, in the rest of the world since so much of our media consumption is American anyway). He yearns for a supposed golden age in the past of higher standards.

In a lot of ways that argument is not so interesting to me: as Jon Stewart pointed out, we may hear more F-words on TV, but the country no longer has whites-only seats in restaurants – does that suggest a rise or fall in standards over all? It depends where your focus lies, to some extent.

A more interesting question to me is about intellectual standards. On the one hand we no longer learn Greek and Latin and study the classics and the Western Canon. On the other hand, the quantity and pace of information kids are asked to deal with these days would have future-shocked a leisurely classical scholar into catatonia.

So how about it: do you think Western culture in general is being ‘dumbed down’? What are the trade-offs? Do we know more, or less? And beyond knowledge, are we wiser or less wise? Is the ‘dumbing down’ (if you believe it exists) a new phenomenon? Or is it as old as time? (Socrates was sentenced for ‘corrupting the youth’.)

  1. Yes, I know I’ve repeatedly said we don’t have TV at home! We do have cable as part of our apartment rent, and a TV tuner card in the computer, but the two only ever get hooked up during school holidays
  2. This is a footnote, confusingly, without a corresponding reference number in the text. It’s just to say that I just realised it’s along time since I did a footnote, and they used to be kind of a trademark part of the ‘Bravus’ style… so here are a couple



Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:10 am

OK, this one is all about me, rather than what’s going on in the world more broadly, so feel free to skip it if that’s less interesting. And if anyone from my current university is reading this, the only reason I’m contemplating leaving is that we’ve had about as many Edmonton winters as we can stand – I’ve been incredibly supported and had a fantastic 4 years so far at the University of Alberta. If I do get any of the jobs I’ll be negotiating to start next July so that I can finish off the one year Carnegie Scholarship here before I go.

I applied for three jobs over the past couple of months. The first was at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and was as a full professor of education, focusing on the 7 million pound Scottish Teachers for a New Era project. The goal would have been to take a high level look (with a large team) at the whole Scottish teacher education approach and develop research-based prescriptions for reform. I was actually shortlisted for the job, but given that the two Australian jobs discussed below came up later, and the cost of living in the UK, and the climate… I ended up writing to them, apologising for any inconvenience and withdrawing the application.

The second is at the University of Queensland (UQ), and is as a Senior Lecturer in Science Education. It looks like a great job in a great department, and Brisbane would be an excellent place to live for the family. It’s warm, close to the beach, not too expensive and relatively close to our extended family, friends and the college Cassie will probably attend. The position is at a slightly lower level than my current rank of Associate Professor, and I guess there’ll be some negotiation about the exact level I’d be hired at (it’d be nice if they were able to work it out with their Dean to be able to keep me at my current level), but I’m on the shortlist. There’ll be a videoconference interview in early August, and if that goes well I’ll fly out for a fuller interview process later on. Sue is definitely voting for this job and for Brisbane, based mainly on the proximity to family.

The third is at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth: the same university that I left to come to Edmonton. I was on a limited-term postdoctoral fellowship then, whereas I’ve applied for the job as an Associate Professor. It’s in the field of Teaching and Learning, in particular with technology but also more broadly. Perth is a little cheaper than Brisbane in terms of cost of living, and we could afford to live a lot closer to both the university and the beach. For what we could have paid in rent for a small cottage with a long commute in Aberdeen we could have a large beachfront house in Perth! The job sounds really interesting, and is at a higher level than the one in Brisbane. The shortlisting committee for that job is meeting this week, so I hope to hear something soon. The point is, with the higher level job (and higher salary) and lower cost of living in Perth, we could probably afford to fly over pretty regularly to hang out with the family anyway…

I think withdrawing from the Scottish competition was the right thing to do – I’ve got fantastic support and lots of networks in place in Edmonton, so if I end up being offered neither of the two Aussie jobs I’d be better off to stay here for a few more years (and find ways to go warm places during the winter!) than to go to Aberdeen anyway. But I’m pretty hopeful about both the jobs in Australia, and at this stage still kind of ambivalent about which one I’d pick if I was offered them both.

The two jobs partly represent different facets of my career and research agenda – the UQ one is in science education, which is the field my PhD is in and probably the area in which I’ve done the most research and writing. The ECU one is in teaching and learning (with and without technology), which has been a more recent interest, and I also have quite a few publications in that field. I’m sure that each place would allow me to continue to have these two research interests in parallel, but the nature of my teaching and research program in each place would lead to a subtly different slant to the direction of my career going forward. I guess, in the long run, it’s about which interview process gives me the best ‘vibe’ about the people, relationships and support in each university, and about the details of the offers… (of course, it’s hugely arrogant to assume I might get offers from both… but it’s happened before.)


Cracks in the Wall

Filed under: — Bravus @ 11:06 am

So, it’s looking more and more as though Karl Rove, Bush’s advisor, will face some consequences for apparently leaking the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame as a petty political slap for her husband Joseph Wilson’s debunking of the idea that Saddam bought uranium in Africa… (clear? ;))

Either that, or Rove will face no consequences, which would say something too about this administration and its refusal to recognise that it ever does anything wrong. Leaking the identity of a CIA agent is a criminal offence, and if Rove is shown to have committed such an offence and gets away with it…

But it’s just one more woe for Bush at a time when his polls are at historic lows. Far from the long-lived dynasty of Republicans we were led to expect, if current trends continue the House and Senate could easily pass back to Democratic control in the mid-term elections next year. That would make a start on curbing the excesses of the Bush administration, but the US will be feeling that damage for a long, long time, in terms of debt, the Iraq quagmire and wasted international goodwill.


Reasons and Moral Reasoning

Filed under: — Bravus @ 6:22 pm

At the Parenting Rocks parenting blog Suzie and I also write, we’ve decided to update regularly every Monday, unlike ‘Bravus’ which I hope to update roughly every day, although it’ll sometimes be a couple of days (or, ahem, a week) and sometimes there’ll be a couple of posts a day. I’ve just posted today’s update, on how to develop children’s moral reasoning ability so that they end up not needing us as parents to make decisions for them when they grow up. Hope you enjoy it and find it interesting, whether you’re a parent or just the product of parents…


Teacher Feature

Filed under: — Bravus @ 7:43 am

The conference in Oxford last week on ‘Visualization in Science & Education’ was excellent – very varied, and brought together people from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, as well as from 17 countries, and all stages of career from graduate students to venerable retired professors. I learned a lot and was challenged to think about things in different ways. It was also very cool being in one of THE universities of the world, and eating in the college dining hall where hundreds of years worth of scholars have eaten before.

There are a bunch of photos from both Oxford and Stanford here (because of the way Flickr works they’re in backward order compared to a blog – I was at Stanford before Oxford, but the Stanford photos are first).

I took a few things away from the conference (due to the type of conference I’m actually not allowed to report detail of presentations, so these are just impressions). One was an infatuation with Visual Python – an extension of the Python programming language that makes it ridiculously easy to build simple 3D models and visualizations of physical and chemical concepts to take to class. If you enjoy that sort of thing it’s well worth downloading and trying out.

Another was the importance of a good teacher in using visualizations. It was a pretty clear trend that when they’re being used to support great teaching, visualizations work well, and when they’re designed to be ‘teacher-proof’ and just have the student interact with the computer, they don’t work very well at all. What’s surprising to me about that is that anyone finds it surprising…


London Bombings

Filed under: — Bravus @ 10:28 am

I’m not going to say too much about this, since it’s been all over the news and all over the blogs and everything that can sensibly be said, and much that makes no sense, has already been said. I was 40 miles or so away in Oxford at the time of the blasts, and was not affected directly, but witnessed the shock and courage of the British people.

My main comment is that I like the response of London mayor Ken Livingstone much more than those of Bush and Blair. The latter were in “hang ’em high” vigilante mode, but Livingstone said “We will win by going on living in peace and freedom, proving that violence doesn’t defeat us” (my paraphrase).