Internet: free or controlled? and Loch Katrine

Sharp eyed readers will note that this is being written on a Wednesday (or Thursday if you are in Australasia) and that the promised Monday entry did not materialise. This was due to a hotel wanting to charge a ridiculous amount for Internet access. There has been a series of articles in The Guardian newspaper recently. The articles cover a range of issues, including what Google knows about our internet use, how Facebook and Twitter are essentially restrictive in how we use the internet, and questions such as ‘Can the internet be civilised? This question looks at how much porn there is available and whether it should be curtailed, and also whether tools such as Facebook and Twitter can be made part of the laws of different countries e.g. in relation to libel. So, this covers a great deal of ground. In relation to schools, I think that it’s important that we raise these questions with our students and one role the TL or SL can play in the school is to try to ensure that debates on the internet take place or that students are taught to question their own use of the web e.g. in relation to ethics.

Just back from a visit to The Trossachs (which is from the Gaelic [Scottish version pronounced Gallic] for ‘A bristly place’) in central Scotland. This is an area of extensive woodland and large lochs (aka lakes). The most famous is Loch Katrine (pr Katrinn) which was made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his poem ‘Lady of the Lake’. On the day of our walk, there were a host of threatening clouds moving funereally across the sky but our 5 mile walk along the loch side was only briefly interrupted by a shower. When we were leaving, the rain came down in what Thomas Hardy referred to as ‘silken strings’. The views across the loch to the mountains and hills are stunning and in the summer, 2 boats take loads of tourists across the loch and back. There was only one boat on the day of our visit, with a multilingual chatter coming from the queue as we  passed. One of the features of the walk along the loch side at this time of year, is the new leaves on the silver birch trees and the photos below shows the trees lining the loch, with Ben Venue towering above them, and looking up to the trees with the mountain behind.

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