I am writing to thank Jenny Hjul for her thoughtful article, and kind words about me. I also wanted to explain what made me so very angry, on Wednesday afternoon.

My initial feeling was one of disbelief that the event had been cancelled(again) at the last moment, then a building sense of frustration at the acceptance in general of Edinburgh University’s lack of effort in attempting to facilitate the viewing. So I suddenly decided that if no one else was going to challenge those protesters’ blockade of the entrance then I would! There was a gap at the right hand side of the barrier, which I (and “trusty steed” – aka my Zimmer) made a dash for. The masked protesters saw this and half a dozen or so ran to the barrier and started pulling it closed. They were quicker than me, and the gap closed – and this is point I wish to make clear – one of them hit my Zimmer frame with the barrier – looking into my eyes at the same time. I saw red – the effect was that of “lighting the blue touch paper” – an eruption of furious Flora!

It was then that I am afraid my temper got the better of me, and I started to shout at him and I have to admit to calling him an impertinent little pipsqueak, asking “how dare you stop me getting through” etc. In my rage I used the incorrect expression “human rights” when what he and his cohorts were really attacking at that point I suspect, were my civil liberties, but apart from that incorrect phrase, everything else was justified.

Yours sincerely,

Flora Brodie

The dangers of living in an interconnected world

Dear Sirs,

For some reason an ‘interconnected world’ is usually assumed to be a self-evidently Good Thing, like World Government. An interconnected world is of course the means by which AI would quickly control information. With an Internet of Things (IoT), in which machines ‘talk’ directly to each other, AI would be able to control all production very quickly.  This would allow AI to bring about the mass destruction of humanity through Holodomor #2. 

Compare and contrast the destruction of the heavy-water plant in Norway in WW II, with the sabotage of Iranian uranium centrifuges this century. Both operations were designed to stop opponents developing nuclear weapons. To destroy the heavy-water plant, both bombing raids and attacks by Norwegian Resistance and British Commandoes were needed. The attack on the Iranian plant was by the computer worm Stuxnet, which was probably developed by the USA and Israel – no doubt in nice air-conditioned offices, thousands of miles from Iran, with not a single rifle in sight.

AI needs to be stopped.  At the same time, interconnection needs to be replaced by systems which do not interact automatically with others. It would be possible to design an automated house, for example, which is not connected to the internet. Independent computer systems would allow control of heating, light levels, window opening and perhaps hydroponic gardening; but all subject to ultimate manual control by the home owner.

Yours faithfully,

Ned Sweedey

Hydrogen is taking off due to copper shortages

 To whom it may concern. I have just read and enjoyed your article on hydrogen taking off. The reason it is taking off now is that the planning office in Hull finally realised that there is due to be a massive copper shortage. I know that because I was In discussion with him on Facebook. I convinced him of the need for hydrogen on the grounds of not being able to go electric on everything when there is a copper shortage. He changed his mind as he was going to refuse planning for the hydrogen plant on the grounds of inefficiency and lack of need. He granted planning and since the world was just waiting to see if the UK would go for hydrogen, the rest of the world has very quickly followed suit. Things are definitely about to change.

Andrew Fellows

Those wanting to replace the Monarchy resemble postwar town planners

 Bill Emmott’s take on the Monarchy “The price of a purely ceremonial monarchy” is, sadly, puritanically narrow minded. He starts off at scoffing at the Coronation and its ceremonials. I think the musician, screenwriter, novelist actor and artist, Nick Cave’s interpretation is much more telling and accurate. He describes himself as not a Monarchist or a Republican when he says “What I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the UK in our age. Not just the strangest but the weirdest. I hold an inexplicable emotional attachment to the Royals, the strangeness of them, the deeply eccentric nature of the whole affair that so perfectly reflects the unique weirdness of Britain itself” Amen to that and good to see the Palace has relented over, no doubt The Economist-approved wearing of business suits, and is now allowing the Lords etc to get out their Ermin robes. 

This no doubt will be accompanied by much tut tutting from Mr Emmott as his article goes onto say the House of Lords is an an anachronistic ineffective throwback and should be replaced with a purely elected Chamber. For me, this brings to mind those postwar town planners that wanted to sweep away the old town centres with their hopelessly outdated Georgian and Victorian buildings and replace them with shiny new drive through motorways. The allure of destruction and replacement with new baubles to play with should be regarded with the greatest scepticism.

Stephen Hazell-Smith

Email your letters on the subjects of the day and to comment on points raised in Reaction articles to letters@reaction.life