Daily Archives:November 8th, 2007

How to give an excellent lecture

(As demonstrated tonight by Dr Tom Smith of Davas Ltd)

Start with a good opening slide:

Basic explosive chemistry

This will help get the audience’s attention, if anyone turned up:

full theatre

Explain clearly the theory behind your subject:

shell design

and reinforce your points, where possible, with some practical demonstrations.


Make them memorable.


Of course, if you chose the wrong career, say, accountancy, rather than firework manufacture and display, you may be at a slight disadvantage with some of these.

Understanding the numbers

A nice story from the Register – well, rather a depressing one really – about Camelot, the UK’s lottery operator, having to withdraw a recent scratchcard competition:

According to the Manchester Evening News, to qualify for a prize, punters had to “scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card”. Sadly, as the card had a decidedly wintery theme, this initially-shown figure was often below zero.

Among these was Levenshulme’s Tina Farrel, a 23-year-old who admitted “she had left school without a maths GCSE”. She explained: “On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop.”

“I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher, not lower, than -8, but I’m not having it.”

They had to withdraw the competition because rather large numbers of people had the same complaint…

Many thanks to Michael for the link.

Understanding subprime mortgages and strategic investment vehicles

John Bird and John Fortune explain what’s being going on in the world of finance for the South Bank Show…


Many thanks to Hap for the link

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser