Social philosophy and puzzles not on a folding bike. Final day

In the “only hotel in town, breakfast is served in a cafe full of mainly elderly gentlemen, talking six to the dozen. ALL talking ……. to EVERYONE. A right babble. You don’t get this in Costa.

Today involves a pretty big “cox and box”. To get to Murcia to catch my flight I must be on the 8.22 train. The next one is not until …… 17.42! Just possibly an option, but cutting it very fine indeed
After the early breakfast I stroll down to the station. Another fine day, but a decided chill in the air. A nearby sign registers 14 degrees C. Everything’s relative.

Nothing to report on the train; and no exciting photos. Just the view out of the window.

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Arriving in Murcia I stroll into the city. The streets are lined with trees in fantastic blue bloom.
Reaching the historic centre, I enter the immense cathedral

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With time on my hands I take my time strolling around. In addition to the main altar and chancels I count 25 side chapels. One of them catches my eye. The intricate stonework must have represented a lifetime’s labour of love for one medieval stone mason

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And this is such a tiny part of the whole. What devotion!

Wandering into the adjacent Tourist Office I discover that the airport is not the one on the outskirts of Murcia which I had identified on my map, but another one 20 miles away. It’s just as well I didn’t choose the later train. Back to the bus station! 3€ for a 20 mile bus journey. I can’t get over how cheap public transport is.

I realise that there’s been little in the way of social philosophy so far- so, here goes.

I’m sure you’re aware how the relationship between knowledge and power has been shifting – and shifting rapidly. Until recently, knowledge and power have been largely coupled …. in the hands of “experts”. Now, with the advent of the internet, knowledge, and therefore with it,  power, is in the hands of the people. The problem is, of course, that “knowledge” doesn’t equate to “wisdom”. I hasten to add that we should make no assumption, however that the “experts” are always wise.

We are all now experts at self-diagnosis: on a recent (and fortunately rare) visit to my local surgery, I couldn’t help noticing that the doctor consulted the same website I had already visited. Two other contrasting examples of populist expertise are Brexit and ….. the recent 3-day “Flat Earth Convention” in Birmingham. Yes, there was one!

Starting with the former, there is a distinct feeling that “the people” have snubbed the nose of the “experts”; that they have done their own research and voted viscerally on gut feelings concerning sovereignty and control – of our laws and our borders. They don’t believe (or don’t care?) what the experts may say about economic and cultural consequences. Perhaps with prescience, Michael Gove said “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts”.

The 3 day flat earth convention (and I must admit I’m reporting this second hand) was a scrupulously scientific affair, with the focus on scientific method and process rather than “knowledge” handed down by the experts. Various theories were examined with a surprisingly scientific approach. A panel of flat-earthers debated with a panel of PhD physics students. An interesting quote from one of the flat-earthers: “now we’ve got the internet and mass communications, were not reliant on what the mainstream are telling us in newspapers; we can decide for ourselves”. For the record, I am NOT a flat-earther ….. and STRONGLY oppose Brexit.

However, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and can never be put back in. The full implications of this for society have yet to unfold.

Yesterday’s puzzle
I’m sure that many of you got the answer 3
Well …….. YOUR WRONG!
You’re not alone, however: this question was famously set to 300,000 American students, all but 3 of whom got it wrong; including the examiners!
What they failed to take into account was that the radius of the circle which the smaller circle transcribes is not 3r ….. but 4r. It must include its own radius. The correct answer to the puzzle is therefore …. 4. Simple when you know why.

An easy one for the finale
There are three boxes, one containing apples only; one containing oranges only; and the third containing both. All are labelled, but unfortunately ALL incorrectly. You may solve the problem by checking one item of fruit from one box only.
Which box should you choose?

Answer next year

Well, it’s been a journey and a half. My Spanish has come on ….. a bit; I’ve missed the downhill sweeps on the bike (and, I confess, the uphill slogs!); but my feet have taken me to places my bike could not possibly go. Fantastic places. And the coxing and boxing has not been without its attractions. All in all, it’s been a great week

Thank you for following.

Hasta luego

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