I usually joke that if anyone looked at my internet browsing history, I’d very likely get locked up. Research takes me to all kinds of strange websites, and hunting down weird bits of information. This week has been no exception.
I’m also right up against a deadline for the next Charlie Fox book, which is just reaching the closing stages – the part where I’m really loath to tear myself away. So, I thought I would share with you today’s browsing history.
The other reason for this is that I recently had a reminder from fellow crime author Sarah Hilary that entries for the Flashbang Flash Fiction competition were just about to close. I’m one of the judges for this, and have been for several years now. And the winner that still sticks in my mind was Iain Rowan’s entry, Search History from 2012. It went from ‘internet dating’, via ‘engagement rings’ and ‘wedding venues’ to ‘signs your partner is seeing someone else', ‘woodchipper hire’, and finally back to ‘internet dating’ again.
I don’t think my browsing history is quite that elegant, but at the moment I have tabs open on my desktop for Google Maps, on which I’ve been investigating the overland route between the port of Odessa on the Black Sea, Ukraine, and Borovets in the mountains of Bulgaria, via Moldova and Romania.
Very useful to know it was around 1060km, and would take at least fourteen-and-a-half hours, if nobody wanted to stop to eat, sleep, or go to the loo!
I dragged the route over a little because I particularly wanted to take my travellers through Transnistra – the next tab I have open. Transnistra, also known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is a kind of semi-autonomous strip on the western side of Moldova between the River Dniester and the Ukrainian border. After the breakup of the USSR, it strove for independence, and a brief war was fought over this in the early 1990s. It now has its own president, currency, licence plate, national anthem and flag – the only one still to bear the Soviet hammer and sickle. It has been recognised as an independent state by just three countries, none of which are UN member states.
I have a page open from the World Nomads website discussing how safe Moldova is for tourists, and about police corruption. Fascinating stuff.
A news item in The Guardian recently caught my eye, about the new president’s intention to increase spending on the military, but to cut budgets for other, equally vital services, which may in the long run do more to keep the peace than a soldier with a gun.
I was sent a link to this TinyBuddha blog by David deSouza about small ways in which you can give back, including online mind games that donate rice to charity – www.FreeRice.com – and a Tamagotchi-style app called Forest that allows you to cultivate a virtual tree by keeping off your mobile devices, thus improving your time spent at work, actually working. And the nicest thing is, apparently the people behind the app do actually go out and plant real trees in relation to the number of ones you’ve virtually grown.
Another open page is The Common Room blog on the Pterion, which is the area of the skull just behind the temple, where four bones of the skull meet, creating a weak point. A sub-cranial artery runs through this area, making it especially vulnerable to attack.
And finally, a page found via the AOL news, on a story that women applying for a UK driving licence are obliged to answer questions about their marital status, which are not asked of male applicants. The item in question highlighted the problems on particular woman had when she, too, asked for no title on her new licence, only for it to turn up incorrectly labelling her as ‘Mrs’. It’s not so much the story that interested me, as the comments below the piece, which gave away rather a lot about the attitudes of the commenters. All useful research …
So, what would anyone looking at your recent browsing history have found?
This week’s word of the week is kakorrhaphiophobia, meaning an abnormal fear of failure. It comes from atychiphobia, meaning a fear of failure, but with the addition of kako, from the Greek for ‘bad’. So, really bad fear of failure.
Right, back to my deadline!