Daily Archives:April 20th, 2003

Hat is the question

[Original Link] John has been discussing millinery. Actually, it isn’t millinery, because that’s women’s hats. Is there an equivalent term for men’s headgear? Hattery will get you nowhere.

Anyway, John and I have the same problem, which is a need to protect our heads from the sun, in much the same way as Cray supercomputers require substantial cooling systems. But we both have a natural aversion to baseball caps, and John, who has been experimenting with various options including a rather elegant panama asks whether I have a secret hat habit?

And the answer is yes. I also have a panama, which I bought one year at Henley Regatta, but I don’t think I can carry it off except when wearing a blazer, which isn’t often. My other hats tend to be sufficiently embarrassing that I don’t wear them except when well away from my home turf where, let’s face it, the heat of the noonday sun is seldom much of a problem anyway.

My first hat I bought in Ambleside because it cost less than the tube of sun cream I was thinking of buying. I call it my “guess which country I’m from…” hat because nobody but a Brit on holiday would be seen dead in it. Looking back through my photos, I don’t seem to have a picture of it. Which is just too bad.

My main hat is made by the Henschel Hat Co. of St Louis, Missouri and was purchased in Georgetown in Washington DC.

Mmm. Works in all weathers, too. This is Brussels in mid-winter:

The trouble is that it doesn’t fold, roll or collapse in any way and so takes up quite a bit of my suitcase, so I often don’t have it when I need it, like last week.

So last week I bought this rather fetching little number:

OK, say what you like, but it’s comfortable and fits in my pocket. Not sure any of these suggestions would be quite right for a man of John‘s standing, though!

The Death of the Media Lab?

[Original Link] John Naughton’s blog had a link to this interesting article by Philip Greenspun about the MIT Media Lab’s mode of operation, which in turn was a response to this Wired article about its current funding crisis and likely future.

When I visited the Lab a few years back, I, like many others, thought, “this is fun, but who pays for it?” I was a student at the time, and so I didn’t worry too much about these things. But I was working on similar stuff, and so was glad that somebody, or some bodies, had the vision to fund the wacky stuff.

The Media Lab is a bit like manned spaceflight. It probably doesn’t make sense, the funders seldom get their money back, there are more efficient ways to use resources, and so on. But the world would be a much less interesting place to live in without it.
I hope it survives. Or that something more exciting, rather than just more practical, rises up to replace it.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser