Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Climbing Every Mountain ...

.... for charity

Mountaineers, Mark S Lewis and Ian Blessley started their daunting 855 rock faces climbing challenge at 10.00am on Monday 3rd September at Morlais Quarry in Merthyr Tydfil and in the last 8 days have climbed over a 1500mtrs, done live interviews with BBC and had several articles in the newspapers. The pair, both experienced mountaineers, are taking on the VS challenge; climbing 855 rock faces, that’s 100,000mts of rock faces, by two climbers in a bid to raise £100,000 for Tenovus, Wales’ Cancer Charity and the WISCM Trust. They have completed over 1000mtrs of climbing so far and it is all blogged on Mark's website -

Mark, who runs his own Mountaineering company and is sponsored by Zero G Climbing, explains more about their amazing challenge ... “We are about to take on one of the most extreme mountain challenges ever attempted in the UK and will be rock climbing full-time for about six months, weather dependent, until we have completed the 855 rock faces challenge.”

The intrepid pair will be climbing throughout South and West Wales; on Gower, in the Bridgend area, on Inland Limestone and Sandstone rock faces. Mark and Ian are inviting people to join them in their quest along the way, “Each climb is weather dependent, so we will be choosing our daily location dependent on weather forecasts. Each week we hope to complete 6 climbs per day for 5 days in a row.

Mark concluded, “I have climbed on Mount Everest a few times but this rock face challenge is going to be every bit as gruelling, even without the snow!”

Tenovus, Wales’ cancer charity is full of praise for Mark and Ian, Kylie Parfitt, National Project development officer for Tenovus said, “This fundraising challenge has high hopes of raising £50,000 for Tenovus to help us support cancer patients and their families at a time they need us most.”
She added, “If you would like to help the boys reach their target over the next six months please donate on line at Just Giving or you can send cheques or postal orders made payable to Tenovus to The VS Challenge, Tenovus, 43 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AB.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Jason Murray

Don't waste your time standing on the beach of life, trying to decide whether or not to surf. Just go. The waves always look better once you're in the water.

- Mark Anders -

Greg Long performs his morning duties inside a beautifully-designed Moroccan temple.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Objects of Desire

When it comes to cool travel gadgets, the SteriPen is without doubt as seeringly cool as it's possible to get. Not just because of the remarkable thing that it does, but also because it looks just so darn hot! Before we get into tech details, suffice to say that within a matter of seconds, this SteriPen will mean you never again have to worry about 'Don't drink the water' signs ever again. Flip off the lid and dip the end of the pen into your glass of water, turn it on, and the cool UV light will glow bright blue, and in no time it will kill off a whole heap of potential nasties. It's the only patented, handheld water purifier that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy waterborne microbes. Ultra-violet light has been used for 90 years in large-scale systems including hospitals, city water systems and bottling plants to purify water. Independently tested by four universities, the SteriPen has been shown to destroy in excess of 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses and 99.9% of protozoa.

To date SteriPEN has been tested against: E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Poliovirus, Rotavirus, Klebsiella terrigena, Streptococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis (vegitative and spore), common yeast, Coliphage MS2, Giardia and Cryptosporidum. We don't know what most of those are, but we're pretty sure we don't want to inadvertently drink any of them, that's for sure. Effective against the waterborne microbes that cause giardia, polio, diarrhea, hepatitis, typhoid fever, botulism, dysentery and cholera (just to name a few), we can't imagine travelling anywhere without this compact and invaluable little gadget. Complete peace of mind in a pen, don't you just love the 21st Century!

Testing shows that SteriPEN meets the standard as set forth in the U.S. EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Photograher: Sara Schloo

All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.

- Arthur C. Clarke -

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Perkins, Jay & Tishman (1993a) consider good thinking can be characterised by seven broad dispositions. Each disposition has three elements: inclination (a person’s felt tendency towards a particular behaviour), sensitivity (a person’s alertness towards a particular occasion), and capability (the ability of a person to follow through with a particular behaviour). A good leader may be disposed towards all of the thinking behaviours and appropriately exhibit one or more of them depending on the situation. The theory of good thinking is based on logical argument (Tishman & Perkins, 1995; Tishman, 2001) and growing empirical evidence for the importance of dispositions (Facione, Facione & Giancarlo, 2000). Perkins et al. (1993a) contend that it raises provocative questions about existing models of thinking, casts new light on controversial issues in the field, connects in interesting ways to findings in other promising areas of cognitive research, and has important implications for the education of good thinking.

Any divergence between a leader’s ability to think critically and their tendency to invest fully in an opportunity can be thought of as a ‘dispositions gap’ (Perkins et al., 2000) where a disposition exists as the complex relationship between an intention, the sensitivity to an opportunity or demands of a particular context and the capability to respond. Perceptual sensitivity and capability to respond are two logically separable but functionally co-dependent elements. However, Tishman, Jay & Perkins (1993) maintain that sensitivity to context and capability in respect to thinking are insufficient to understand what people do without some consideration about aspects of motivation. Their inclusion of intention as a component creates a sufficient set of elements in what they call a dispositional framework. Adaptive expertise logically requires positive dispositions and a goal for ‘good leadership’ development should be to minimise the dispositions gap as much as possible (Tozer et al., 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Jason Murray

Freedom to dive into deep blue sea
Freedom to live my life as me, I feel free...
Free to be just me, peace and harmony,
Everybody singing freedom.
Just the birds, the fish and the sea...
Freedom to dive into deep blue sea.
- Beau Young -

Far offshore, somewhere close to nowhere, a royal blue cathedral arcs, unridden but far from unappreciated.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Variation In Practice

A critical element of learning is varying the way in which something is practiced (eg Runesson, 2006; Timms, 2006). After initial episodes, tests might show learners who have only rehearsed a task one way outperform those who have had higher levels of variation in the practice. In later tests, however, there is often no difference between the performance of high and low variation groups (Magill, 2006; Jarus, 1994). More importantly though, when trying a new variation that neither group has practiced, high variation groups always outperform low variation groups (Fazey & Fazey, 1989). Those who have experienced variation during practice are more likely to develop adaptive expertise. An illustrative example here could be of learning to navigate in only one mountain region as opposed to many areas. We can expect that the leader who has experienced greater variation of navigating is more likely to adapt to the challenges of navigating in a new location.

To develop adaptability several aspects of practice that can be varied including; (1) the intended outcome; (2) the criteria by which the outcome is judged; (3) the way a task is carried out or experienced; (4) the reason for which the learning or creative task is undertaken; and (5) the perspective a person can take (e.g. van Merrienboer, de Croock & Jelsma, 1997; Pramling, 1990; Timms, 2006). These dimensions of variation are not mutually exclusive and interact in complex ways. Introducing variation in only one or two of these dimensions may therefore be sufficient to induce more effective learning (Marton & Booth, 1997; Runesson, 2006, Tozer et al., 2007).

Introducing variation can also help break what the philosopher Edmund Husserl termed ‘natural attitude’, our habitual assumption that what we experience is reality, rather than the attitude that it is reality experienced in a particular way (Fazey & Marton, 2002). Variation helps to demonstrate that what we experience is not the same reality that others experience (Runesson, 2006). Trying to look at a problem from different perspectives is therefore possibly one of the most crucial elements of variation that needs to be practiced (Marton & Wenestam, 1988). Performers will not only be better learners if they are open to how and if an experience changes their current understanding (e.g. Jarvis 1987; 1995), but also if they are open to how others perceive the same experience (Saljo, 1979; 1991a).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Al Mackinnon

In waiting for a wave, in sitting out there between sets, bad thoughts, obsessive thoughts, will surface, but while actually riding, while standing up and searching for that rhythm, no matter how awful the day I'm having, my mind is clean and clear and blank and therefore content. I have never, not ever, had a conscious thought, good, bad or indifferent, while in the act of riding a wave. Some days I really need that vacuum, that purity.

- Alan Weisbecker -

Greg Long bringing the drawings in our school books to life at Dungeons, SA. XXL winner 2006/7.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Learning how to do something better requires regular and deliberate practice (Ericsson, Krampe & Tesch-Romer, 1993; Ericsson, 2002; Starkes, Deakin Allard, Hodges & Hayes, 1996). In the early stages, a learner is conscious of almost everything, but is often unable to identify what is important. As learning progresses, thinking and behaviour gradually become refined and increasingly automated until the learner can do what they want while paying little attention to doing it (Raiman, 1975; Shuell, 1990).

For learning to be effective, practice should be contextualised and relevant thus creating enhanced opportunities for retention and transferability (Cross & Lyle, 1999; Schwartz et al., 2005). A useful koan in addition to ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘perfect practice makes permanent’ might be ‘purposeful and varied practice makes portable’ (Tozer et al., 2007). Retaining and transferring what an individual has learnt can be improved by experiencing variation in practice and/or frequent changes that introduce unrelated elements, which in turn can lead to improved adaptability, rather than constantly practising the same thing (Magill, 2006; Runesson, 2006).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Jason Murray

Time is expanded inside the tube

- Shaun Tomson -

Greg Long moonlights as a rider of giant ocean mountains, but he's not bad at his day job either: digging his rails deep and carving whatever comes along.