We Are Watching, and You Will be Counted

Have our lives become units? Are we just another commodity?

OUseful.Info, the blog...

Two or three weeks ago, whilst in Cardiff, I noticed one of these things for the first time:


It’s counts the number of cyclists who pass by it and is a great example of the sort of thing that could perhaps be added to a “data walk”, along with several other examples of data revealing street furniture as described by Leigh Dodds in Data and information in the city.

It looks like could be made by a company called Falco – this Falco Cycle Counter CB650 (“[a]lready installed for Cardiff County Council as well as in Copenhagen and Nijmegen”)? (Falco also make another, cheaper one, the CB400.)

From the blurb:

The purpose of the Falco Cycle Counter is to show the number of cyclists on a bicycle path. It shows the number of cyclists per day and year. At the top of the Counter there is…

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Imelda Conway-Duffy

Something I said

You are as natural as the night,
And all that springs from you is good
Don McLean – Winterwood


Eileen Bennett came through much of her life carrying the belief that she wasn’t qualified to earn a decent living: a self-fulfilling prophecy that sabotaged any hope of recognition and adequate remuneration for her ability to perform miracles for businesses as well as for people from all walks of life.

Coming upon the final chapter in Eileen’s book, ‘Hard Won Wisdom’, I stopped and read it again, just to be sure that I hadn’t written it! This was my story too! Indeed, I’m sure will ring bells for many others:


This is how I treated her;
When she was tired I forced her to keep working.
When she was hungry I wouldn’t let her eat,
When she was thirsty I made her wait,
When she was sad I insisted…

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Telexes and other thoughts.

Imelda Conway-Duffy


In recent weeks, someone said that telex machines are making a comeback; that, in this age of hacking and eavesdropping in the cyber universe, larger corporations have returned to older technology to transmit sensitive data. No doubt, newer models are less noisy and cumbersome than those of days gone by, but being of a wind-up telephone, telex and original mini-skirt era, I was catapulted into flights of fanciful dreams. With a track record of reliability, sensitivity and ‘common sense’ (according to one employer’s reference), and perhaps with a few minor ‘upgrades’ I might be recycled and rolled out for a second spin in the corporate sphere. Or, maybe an intelligence agency? After all, in a previous existence – and barely out of nappies – I had successfully pulled the wool over one interviewer’s eyes.


The newspaper advertisement bore the shamrock logo, over the words, ‘Aer Lingus, Irish International Airlines’…

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Envy and Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy?

Microscopes are Prudent

A taboo topic?

I have been to several conferences and read many books on giftedness, but one subject that is little discussed is the social/emotional effects on gifted children of being envied. It’s as if we are hoping that by not talking about it, it will go away, and we will not run the risk of being accused of bragging.

Advanced Squelching

A few months ago, I was struck by the candor and self-awareness of Joyce Slaton in her blog post, “I hate hearing about your gifted child.” She said, in part:

I get it that the moms are proud, and certainly, I don’t mind hearing about the kids’ other wonderful accomplishments. It’s the gifted thing that gets me… But why am I comparing? Why do I care? Normal is a good thing! Normal is great! Normal is what I prayed for. But that’s a lie. I didn’t. I prayed…

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Left Out

Imelda Conway-Duffy

Growing Jim

By the age of seven, my brother, Jimmy had discovered a whole new world: Gaelic football. For this occupation, ‘kit’ was required and it fell to my mother to ‘kit him out’ in knicks, socks, jersey and boots. A neighbour, whom we all knew as ‘The Granny’ was a ‘handy woman with a sewing machine’, and only too delighted to assemble a pair of knicks for ‘the little lad’. A couple of days after measurements were taken, we were told to stop off at The Granny’s house on our way home from school and collect them. Up beside the open fire, we were plied with lemonade and biscuits, ‘Granny’ tending to simmering pots over the fire, crooked grin and twinkling eyes an invitation to her heart, invited Jimmy to ‘grab that handle and give that wheel a turn’. He duly took hold of the handle on the giant iron wheel…

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Back to School Tips for Teachers and Parents of Gifted Kids

Your Rainforest Mind

Alicia and me Alicia and me–Sorry, I couldn’t get a photo of her teaching.

My niece, Alicia, is a middle school English teacher. She loves, I mean LOVES, her job. I can imagine her in a classroom finding creative and sensitive ways to meet the needs of all of her little darlings. She’s the teacher we all want. The teacher who will change us in unexpected ways.

I’m guessing that you had one of those teachers and that you remember his or her name. That you’re grateful for the kindness or the intellectual excitement or the books s/he put into your hands.

I was a teacher, too, when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. Sixth grade, at first. Then I became a TAG (talented and gifted) teacher. I had the amazing opportunity to work with small groups of curious, funny, super-smart kids. One of them (now in his 40s) found me on Facebook the…

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