Archive for the ‘education’ Tag

Great Girton Girls No.16 – Sarah Marks / Herta Ayrton

After a recent reunion at Girton I decided to get a proper grasp on the history of the institution and read the standard text on the subject of which I had heard much, ‘That Infidel Place’ by Muriel Bradbrook. It’s particularly interesting because it was written in 1969 while revolution was in the air on campuses across the world. (The other name that used to come up a lot was Rosamond Lehmann, for her memoirs I suppose.) It was in ‘That Infidel Place’ I came across Sarah Marks.

Phoebe Sarah Marks Hertha Ayrton 1854 – 1923 British engineer, mathematician, physicist inventor

On that same visit I noticed a portrait on a wall of a woman named Louisa Goldsmid. The name rang a bell and she turned out to be a forebear of mine, closing the circle. A founder of the college, she will be the subject of No.17. She supported Sarah financially during her career.

Phoebe Sarah Marks was born on 28th April 1854 in Portsea, Hampshire (England) and died on 26th August 1923 (at the age of 69). She was a mathematician, engineer, physicist and inventor. As a teenager she changed her name to Hertha and in due course married physicist and electrical engineer William Ayrton, so she ended up with the name Herta Ayrton and that’s what’s on her two relatively recent blue plaques. She got the name Hertha from the eponymous heroine of Swinburne’s poem.

sarah marks hertha-marks-ayrton scientist

Phoebe Sarah Marks (known as Sarah) was the third child of Levi Marks, a Jewish watchmaker who fled Tsarist Poland, and Alice Theresa Moss, a seamstress. Sarah’s mother was the daughter of Joseph Moss, a glass merchant in Portsea. Levi Marks died in 1861, leaving Sarah’s mother with seven children and an eighth on the way.

Two years later Sarah went to live with her aunts in London and be educated alongside her cousins. The aunts ran a school in NW London. She quickly developed a reputation for having a fiery personality.

By 1870 she was working as a governess, a profession closely connected with Girton and the rise of women’s university education.

Sarah got involved in the women’s suffrage movement while still a teenager. That’s how she met Barbara Bodichon, who went on to become co-founder of Girton. They came into contact while Sarah was a governess and she came to regard Sarah almost as a daughter. Bodichon paid Sarah’s fees and maintenance at Girton and supported her financially throughout her education and career. She ended up bequeathing her considerable estate to Sarah and Sarah marked her gratitude by calling her first child Barbara Bodichon Ayrton. Barbie as she came to be known was born in 1886. She became a Labour MP and died in 1950. Her own son was the artist, Michael Ayrton (1921-1975).

The Captive Seven (1949-50) by Michael Ayrton (1921-1975) Tate Gallery

The Captive Seven (1949-50) by Michael Ayrton – Tate Gallery

Sarah/Herta went up to Girton College, Cambridge, in one of the early cohorts of undergraduates there. She studied Mathematics.

Her application to Cambridge was supported by the novelist George Eliot. Eliot used her as the model for Mirah Lapidoth in ‘Daniel Deronda’.

Jodhi May as Mirah Lapidoth george eliot daniel deronda tv drama

Jodhi May as the Jewess Mirah Lapidoth in Andrew Davies’ 2002 TV adaptation of ‘Daniel Deronda’

At Girton she set up the Mathematics club, led the choral society, and, ironically for the fiery personality that she was, founded the College Fire Brigade in 1879 (which persisted until the 1930s).

Girton Girls Fire Brigade formed in 1878

The Girton College Fire Brigade formed in 1879 to protect the the isolated buildings which were located 2 miles from the city centre

While still an undergraduate Sarah built a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter). She was taught by physicist Richard Glazebrook. In 1880 Sarah passed the Mathematics Tripos but was not granted an academic degree because the University awarded only certificates, not full degrees, to women at that time. Indeed until 1948! [See ‘The Steamboat Ladies’ post]

The following year Sarah/Herta passed an exam at the University of London, which awarded her a Bachelor of Science degree.  This links back to my relative Louisa Goldsmid whose forebears had helped found University College London, a constituent college of the federal University of London. Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (1778–1859) was a Founder and Benefactor of UCL alongside the likes of Jeremy Bentham and George Birkbeck (my father, a scientist, from the other side of my family than the Goldsmids, in due course went to Birkbeck College to do his PhD in Organic Chemistry).

Back in London Herta made her living by teaching, as well as embroidery. She taught maths at Notting Hill and Ealing High School. She also ran a club for working girls. In addition, she devised mathematical problems for the Educational Times ‘Mathematical Questions and Their Solutions’ page.

In 1884 she patented a line-divider, an instrument for engineering drawing used for dividing a line into any number of equal parts and for enlarging and reducing figures. This was her first major invention and was of use not only to engineers but also to artists and architects. Her patent application was financially supported by that same Louisa Goldsmid and Barbara Bodichon. The line-divider was displayed at the Exhibition of Women’s Industries and received a good deal of press attention. Between 1884 and 1923 Hertha registered 26 patents: 5 for mathematical dividers, 13 for arc lamps and electrodes, 8 for the propulsion of air.

In 1884 Herta began attending evening classes on Electricity at Finsbury Technical College. These were delivered by Professor William Edward Ayrton, a pioneer in electrical engineering and physics education, and a fellow of the Royal Society. They ended up getting married the following year (6th May 1885). After their marriage she assisted him with physics/electricity experiments. She also began her own experimentation into the characteristics of the electric arc.

Electric arc lighting was in wide use in late 19th Century Britain for public lighting. Its tendency to flicker and hiss was a significant problem. In 1895/6 Hertha wrote a series of articles for ‘The Electrician’ linking these defects to oxygen coming into contact with the carbon rods used to create the arc. In 1899 she was the first woman to read her own paper (‘The Hissing of the Electric Arc’) to the Institution of Electrical Engineers. (Early in my career at Channel 4 I collaborated with the IEE on a long-running creative industries talent development project called IdeasFactory which I ran from 2003 to 2005.) Herta was elected the first female member of the IEE (alone in that status until long after her death – the second woman to be admitted was in 1958). In 1902 Herta published ‘The Electric Arc’, a summary of her research on the electric arc.

Helena_Arsène_Darmesteter_-_Portrait_of_Hertha_Ayrton

Portrait of Hertha by Helena Arsène Darmesteter who also died in 1923 and whose mother was the editor of the first Jewish women’s periodical, Marion Hartog Moss, presumably related to Alice Moss. She exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.

She petitioned to present a paper to the Royal Society but was refused on the grounds of gender – in 1901 her paper ‘The Mechanism of the Electric Arc’ was read on her behalf by renowned electrical engineer John Perry. He proposed her as a Fellow of the Royal Society the following year but this was rejected by the Council of the Royal Society, who decreed that married women were not eligible to be Fellows. Two years on, however, she became the first woman to read a paper before the Royal Society (1904) when she was permitted to read ‘The Origin and Growth of Ripple Marks’ (which was published in due course in the Proceedings of the Royal Society). Herta presented six papers to the Royal Society between 1901 and her death, a final one in 1926 being delivered posthumously.

Herta was the first woman to win a prize from the Royal Society, the prestigious Hughes Medal for original discovery in the Physical Sciences (especially the applications of  electricity/magnetism). It was awarded to her in 1906 for her work on the electric arc, as well as on the motion of ripples in sand and water. She was the fifth recipient of this annual prize. It took until 2008 for the second woman to be awarded the medal.

In 1899 Herta was put in charge of the Physical Science section at the International Congress of Women which took place in London. The following year she delivered an address at the International Electrical Congress in Paris. In the wake of that success the British Association for the Advancement of Science allowed women to serve on general and sectional committees.

Herta’s work on vortices in water and air gave rise to the ‘Ayrton fan’/’Ayrton flapper’ which was used in the trenches of the First World War to dispel poison gas. She fought for its adoption and even organised its production, over 100,000 being used on the Western Front.

Ayrton anti-gas fan [Imperial War Museum]

Ayrton anti-gas fan – waterproof canvas with cane handle. The back has a hinge so it can fit the varying shapes of the backs of parapets, corners of traverses etc. The fan is 89cm long, with a blade 47cm square, and weighs less than 0.5kg.

After the Great War, Herta helped found the International Federation of University Women (in 1919) and the National Union of Scientific Workers (1920).

Her death highlights the wonders of natural science – she died from the bite of an insect (and subsequent blood poisoning) at New Cottage, North Lancing, Sussex. She has a blue plaque at her London home at 41 Norfolk Square in Paddington, placed there in 2007, 84 years after her fatal sting.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [1 Corinthians]

In February this year a second blue plaque was unveiled at the site of her birthplace at 6 Queen Street, Portsea.

Phoebe Sarah Marks Hertha Ayrton 1854 – 1923 British engineer, mathematician, physicist inventor

In 2015 the British Society for the History of Science established the Ayrton Prize for web projects and digital engagement in the history of science. Which brings us nicely up to the present.

 

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The Steamboat Ladies

Girton College Cambridge September 2018I am sitting in the middle of Woodland Court at Girton College, Cambridge, my alma mater. From this bench I have a good view of the college chapel in one corner and the library in the other. Due to its Victorian gothic red-brick style (built 1874-87) everything here looks like a chapel – the library, the dining hall – one of the main reasons I came here was that I had been reading ‘Northanger Abbey’ just before choosing a college, was really taken with it, and thought this infidel place looked like it.

Next year Girty celebrates her 150th birthday and through that I came across the ‘Steamboat Ladies’. The Steamboat Ladies were female graduates of Cambridge and Oxford who were not granted degrees by their university but were awarded them instead by Trinity College, Dublin which was more progressive with regard to equality in higher education.

This took place between June 1904 (the year in which ‘Ulysses’ is set) and December 1907. The ladies were forced to board the steamboat for Dublin because their own universities, at which they attended the women-only colleges of Girton, Newnham and Sommerville, refused to confer degrees upon women.

Trinity College, Dublin started admitting female students in 1904. Cambridge and Oxford ghettoised the women in separate female colleges. Girton sits here on the edge of town, a good cycle ride from the centre, because that’s as near as the women were allowed. Before here it was in Hitchen, an even safer distance away, 35 miles away in Hertfordshire. The University of Dublin had a tripartite arrangement with Oxford and Cambridge of ad eundem mutual recognition.

Students at Benslow House, Hitchin, in 1872. In 1873 it reopened just outside Cambridge and became Girton College.

Students at Benslow House, Hitchin, in 1872. In 1873 it reopened just outside Cambridge and became Girton College.

By December 1907 Trinity College had granted degrees to around 720 Steamboat Ladies. They had all passed the exams at Oxbridge that earned male students a degree.

By the time I came here in 1983 this was 50/50 mixed, the only such college in Cambridge.

Girton College Cambridge officials mistress

Girton founders

TLAs

SPV

In the last few days, during the course of day-to-day work, I’ve come across a whole load of new TLAs – that is, Three Letter Acronyms – and I thought it might be high time to collect the whole set, so here are the beginnings of my A to Z of TLAs. Do feel free to teach me some more…

A – ASM = Assistant Stage Manager {courtesy of Moblogger OJ and the BBC} or AFP = Advertiser Funded Programming or ACL = Anterior Cruciate Ligament (which footballers damage just when they are most needed) {courtesy of Paul Chappel} or ATV = Automated Transfer Vehicle [launched by the ESA (= European Space Agency) in March 08 bound for the ISS (International Space Station)] or = Appointment to View {courtesy of Hideous Productions} or ADP = Automatic Data Processing or ASD = Autistic Spectrum Disorder {courtesy of Siren’s Cry} or AWS = Amazon Web Services (see 4iP) or API = Compulsory Advance Passenger Information for the Spanish authorities (required if you are flying from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland or Morocco to Spain) {courtesy of Ryanscrewthemforeverypennyair} + Application Programming Interface or AIG – American International Group or AET = After Extra Time (in sad rememberance of Carling Cup Final 1st March 09 in which Spurs lost on penalties AET) or ATM = Airtime Management (Channel 4) or AFM = American Film Market or ACR = A Certain Ratio (Factory Records band as seen in 24 Hour Party People)

B – BNC = Bayonet Nut Connector (“y’know, the locking connectors like what you use to join co-ax together”) {courtesy of Mat} or BFF = Best Friend Forever {courtesy of Lisa Devaney} or BOF = Beurre Oeufs Fromage [a blackmarketeer in wartime occupied France – read in Murder in the Marais by Carla Black] or BBC = Bucks Boarding Centre {sticker on the tube today 11.1.08} or BAA= British Animation Awards {4mations} or BRB = be right back or BTP = British Transport Police or BOA = British Olympics Association (to mark this first day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics 08/08/08 ) or BEA = British European Airways (BBC Radio 4 1968 Day-by-Day) or BoE = Bank of England (to mark the credit crunch meltdown) or BBW = big breasted woman or BYO = bring your own bottle or BIP = Brand Information Page (channel4.com jargon) or BOD = Brian O’Driscoll (in commemoration of Ireland-England 6 Nations international at Croke Park at which BOD scored a telling try and drop goal 28th Feb 09, watched at McKevitt’s in Carlingford) or BME = British Music Experience (launched 3.3.09 by Harvey Goldsmith at the old Millennium Dome) + Black and Minority Ethnic or BFC = Britain’s Forgotten Children, forthcoming season on Channel 4 starting 9.v.09 – not to be confused with BFG = Big Friendly Giant (Roald Dahl) {courtesy of Jodie Morris} or KFC = Kentucky Fried Chicken or BSG = Broadband Stakeholder Group (which I helped establish in 2000) or BSD = Bullshit Detector {courtesy of The Clash – and me} or BSL = British Sign Language {courtesy of OAD Alex Horstmann}

C – CTA = Call to action {courtesy of Adam Preloaded} or CSF = Comic Sans FTypingerror / Cerebro-Spinal Fluid {courtesy of Mobloggers Seaneeboy and Hildegard} or CPF= Close Personal Friend {Mojo – used with irony i.e. celebs/musos you don’t really know properly but pretend you do} or CPR = Courtesy Professionalism Respect {NYPD} or CDO = Collateralized Debt Obligations [what made Goldman Sachs even richer this year – i.e. dumping them] or CBT = Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy or Computer-based Training (so if you do an online course you could find yourself doing CBT CBT) or CSF = Cheltenham Science Festival (where we recently filmed Richard Dawkins speaking on Charles Darwin) or CPO = Chief Petty Officer or CPM = Cost Per Thousand or CIM = Come in Mouth or CPD = (Continuing Professional Development) + Compulsive Price Disclosure [as in ‘Oh this top, £5 from Primark’ or ‘these shoes, £20 in the sale’] {courtesy of Technokitten, she’s outdone herself} or CDN = Content Delivery Network {courtesy of Mint Digital} + Cultural Diversity Network

D – DOG = Digital On-screen Graphic [those watermarky things on the corner of on-line video and digital tv channels] or DTO = Download to Own {courtesy of Gareth RDF} or DIC = Dubai International Capital [who want to dic about with Liverpool FC] / Death is Coming [medical term] or DSS = Dinosaur Space Service [Astrosaurs] or Dgl = Donegal {courtesy of Maura Logue of Ballyshannon} or D2T = Direct to Tribe [“marketingspeak – not 1 to 1, not 1 to many, but 1 to some”] {courtesy of Technokitten} or DCD = Digital Cinema Distribution {courtesy of UK Media Desk} or DRC = “(not so) Democratic Republic of Congo” {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or DSA = Daily Supplementary Allowance or DPA = Data Protection Act or DFI = Different Fucking Idea (production crew codeword on TV shoots) {courtesy of Sarah Mulvey, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, Channel 4} or DIY = Don’t Involve Yourself (Roy on The Archers 28Nov08 ) or DFP = Documentary Film Program (1/09 the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and Sundance Film Festival announced a new partnership with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program to take the innovative documentary pitching forum, the Good Pitch, on the road in North America) or DHC = Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (Brave New World – Aldous Huxley)

E – EOF = End Of File {courtesy of Mat} or EDP = Education Projects {Pirate, heart of the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Channel 4 commissioning} or EAB = Education Advisory Board {courtesy of Channel 4 Education – some lovely peeps involved} or ETB = Embarrassing Teen Bodies (coming Oct 08 ) or EPC – Elasto Plastic Concrete {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or ECM = Editions of Contemporary Music + Every Child Matters or ECB = England & Wales Cricket Board (Wales doesn’t get its dubya) + European Central Bank

F – FRO = fuck right off (as in “I’m going to FRO now” rather than as a term of abuse – courtesy of Cowbite) or FFS = for fuck’s sake or FoI = Freedom of Information or FDR = Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FTW = For The Win (geeks, courtesy of Mike Butcher, TechCrunch) + Fuck The World (bikers) + Forever Two Wheels (motorcycle enthusiasts) or FSA = Football Supporters’ Assocation + Financial Services Authority

G – GSM = Global System for Mobile communications {courtesy of Alfie Dennen} or GEH = Gormley Event Horizon {courtesy of Billy Liar} or GCT = Grand Central Terminal {courtesy of Bronx Elf} or GIB = Government Investigation Bureau {Zac Power} or GTA = Greater Toronto Area {encountered by chance in the Facebook Group ‘Single Muslims looking for their Soulmate in the GTA’} or GOK = God Only Knows [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or GBS = George Bernard Shaw or GFE = Girl Friend Experience or GBH = Grievous Bodily Harm + Godalming Borough Hall or GPF = Global Protection Force (Jack Stalwart books by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, current favourite of Enfant Terrible #2 – see GIB) or GSE = Grapefruit Seeds Extract {courtesy of Denise on Medicine Chest} or GYO = Grow Your Own (came across thanks to my Landshare project with River Cottage) or GBF = Gay Best Friend (“every girl’s gotta have one”) {courtesy of Kate Quilton}

H – HRD = Human Resource Development {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or HEI = Higher Education Institution or HoF = House of Fraser (as in “I’m nipping out to HOF”) {courtesy of Alma Demirdzic & Lizzy Keene} or HLC = Hideous Lady’s Cardigan {Nationwide TV ad} or HFR = Horseferry Road or HON = Health on the Net {courtesy of MedicineChest Ltd} or HTH = hope that helps

I – ITB = Invitation to Bid {courtesy of the UN via Practical Psychologist} or ITT = Invitation to Tender {courtesy of Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital} or ICT = (no, not the dull one but) Inverness Caledonian Thistle (the northerly football team) or IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome {Embarrassing Illnesses online, Maverick TV} or IOC = International Olympics Committee [to mark the Olympics hand-over 24.8.08 ] or IED = Improvised Explosive Device (heard in a recent news report about Afghanistan) or ICE = US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (The Visitor) or ITT = Initial Teacher Training or IMO = International Maritime Organisation + In My Opinion or ISA = Intelligent Speed Adaptation (mooted technology for limiting car speeds, in the news 12.08) or IRL = In Real Life {courtesy of Mike Butcher of Techcrunch} + Indy Racing League + Ireland or IoM = Isle of Man (George Best Airport, Belfast) or ICC = International Criminal Court (who yesterday 3.3.09 issued a warrant for the arrest of Omar al Bashir, President of Sudan who then withdrew the licences to operate of various NGOs in a new Waltz with Bashir) or ITF = Indie Training Fund (where I spoke on Multiplatform interactive media yesterday 3.3.09 at the invitation of MFP [Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital] but unfortunately my taxi arrived at ITF = International Transport Federation, so a real life example of the dangers inherent in TLAs) or IFB = the Irish Film Board aka Bord Scannan na hÉireann or IOT = In Our Time (with Melvyn Bragg on BBC Radio 4)

J – JIT = Just in Time or JLC = Justin Lee Collins {courtesy of Top Gear} or JKG = John Kenneth Galbraith

K – KPS = Kosovo Police School {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or KTN = Knowledge Transfer Network {courtesy of TSB courtesy of DTI} or KGB = Komitjet Gosudarstvjennoj Bjezopasnosti / Committee for State Security + Knowledge Generation Bureau (owners of 118 118)

L – LDM = Life Defining Moment {courtesy of Practical Psychologist from his new book} or LGR = London Greek Radio (coming to you live&direct from North Finchley) or LSD = Light Space and Drawers [from Skins, when Chris was learning the ropes as a trainee estate agent] or LBD = Little Black Dress or LOL = laugh out loud or LCT = Luxury Car Tuning {courtesy of spam} or LTS = Long Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or LCC = London Cats Club, a Flickr group I just noticed with one member (go on, help her out) or LHC = Large Hadron Collider [8 Sep 08 to mark the start of a grand experiment] or LFB = London Fire Brigade or LHR = London Heathrow or LBV = Late Bottled Vintage (port)

M – MPU = Mid Page Unit [i knew what they were – flat ad spaces within the editorial content of websites – but had never heard what it stood for] or MSM = Mainstream (offline) Media or MDC = Movement for Democratic Change [who probably should be running Zimbabwe at this point] and Milk Development Council or MPT = Movement Poise Thrill {courtesy of Body Data Space} or MTS = Medium Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or MAV = Mothers Against Violence as featured in Secret Millionaire (series 3 episode 1 5/8/08 ) or MAC = Motorised Ambulance Convoy [Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex] or MJQ = Modern Jazz Quartet (inspired by listening to Joe Locke {courtesy of Tom Marcello}) or MHQ = Mission Head Quarters {courtesy of Practical Psychologist, just back from a stint with the UN) or MAP = Membership Action Plan (what Georgia & Ukraine need to get into NATO 12.08 ) or MLF = Martha Lane Fox (Channel 4 Non-Exec, fellow member of the C4 EAB = Education Advisory Board) or MTP = My Tiny Plot (which I came across while working on Medicine Chest) or MVP = Most Valuable Player – from NBA via CNN (Lebron James is 08-09 MVP)

N – NTK = No to Knives {courtesy of Royal Armouries} or Need to Know {courtesy of Dave Green} or NGA = Next Generation Access {Broadband Stakeholders’ Group} or NCA = News and Current Affairs {courtesy of Jon Rowlands, Renegade Pictures} or NQR = Not Quite Right [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or NFI – no fucking idea or NSU – Non-Specific Urethritis (” ’the clap’ to you and me” – courtesy of Practical Psychologist) or NID = Naval Intelligence Division (For Your Eyes Only James Bond exhibition at the Imperial War Museum 1.6.08 ) or NCT = National Car Test, the Irish MOT + National Childbirth Trust or NFI – No Fucking Invite {courtesy of Ed Baker at the video dictionary Wordia} (“when you don’t get invited to a party/gig – and all your friends have been invited” – ‘I’ve been NFI’d’) or NED = Non-Executive Director {courtesy of Martha Lane Fox} + unruly layabout youth (Scottish, most likely derived from acronym for ‘non-educated delinquent’ according to The Septic’s Companion)

O – ORT = Oxford Reading Tree {courtesy of Mr O’Shannessy, Our Lady of Muswell School AKA OLM) or OMG = Oh my god! or OBL = Osama Bin Laden (the Osama but not an Osama) or OSS = Office of Strategic Services [formerly COI = Central Office of Information, at the time of FDR – Philip Kerr: Hitler’s Peace] or ODC = Ordinary Decent Crime (as opposed to terrorism – Radio 4 Today 27/9/08 ) or OWO = Oral Without Condom or ONS = Office for National Statistics to be found at NSO = National Statistics Online (overseen by UKSA)

P – PPC = Pay per Click [I heard it used by a marketeer this afternoon to mean paid for search on web search engines – when I asked, it took her a good few seconds to remember what the letters actually stood for] or PFJ = People’s Front of Judaea {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or PWD = Public Works Department {courtesy of Empire’s Children} or PSP = Public Service Publisher (if you’re Ofcom, and something more straightforward that fits in your pocket if you’re an everyday mortal) and Personal Support Plan (if you’re a teacher) or PQQ = Pre-qualification Questionnaire {courtesy of Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital} or PVT = Public Value Test {BBC} or PDI = previous disco injury [“occurs in persons over 40” – courtesy of Maura Logue] or PDA = Public Display of Affection or PDW = Programme Data Warehouse (Channel 4 IS) or PMQs = Prime Minister’s Question Time or PWL = Percy Wyndham Lewis (exhibition at the NPG [National Portrait Gallery] 7.09 ) or PCA = the Professional Cricketers’ Association (trade union for the men in white) or PSG = Paris Saint-Germain (in Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) or PWI = Possession with Intent (to supply) (Richard Price’s novel Samaritan) or PHF = Paul Hamlyn Foundation (who I visited recently to explore synergies) or PAD = People’s Alliance for Democracy (Thai “yellow shirt” movement, whose leader was shot yesterday 16.4.09) – not to be confused with Pad Thai = Thai-style fried noodles or PLP = Parliamentary Labour Party

Q – QVC – see TSV or QoS = Quantum of Solace or Question of Sport (Simon Mayo & Mark Kermode’s film reviews on BBC Radio 5)

R – RSM = Resident Sergeant Major {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or RFP = Request for Proposals {courtesy of Alfred in Prague} or RSA = Regional Screen Agency + Royal Society for the Arts + Ridley Scott Associates) or RFO = Regularly Funded Organisations {courtesy of the Arts Council via Mike Smith of Carbon Media} or RMU = Retail Merchandising Unit {Make Your Mark in the Mall} or RMC = Ready Mix Concrete {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or RAF = Rapid Action Force (the men in blue protecting the India vs England cricket test match 12.08) or RPG = Rocket-propelled Grenade {courtesy of the outstanding Waltz with Bashir} + Role-Playing Game or RBS – Royal Bank of Scotland AKA Right British Swindle/Scandal or ROG – Ronan O’Gara {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or ROA = Rave on Air (annual event at Ravensbourne College on whose Broadcast Advisory Board I sit) or RPS = Rock Paper Scissors – check out my new game

S – SWA = Site Wide Applications, after first 4 years of development became WCL {courtesy Channel 4 New Media} or SNS = Social Network Service/Site {courtesy of Matt Locke} or SPV = Special Purpose Vehicle – meaning a not-for-profit organisation {courtesy of Caroline Norbury of South-West Screen} or SPV = Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle {Captain Scarlet} or SIV = Special Investment Vehicle {mentioned on Radio 4 by Niall Ferguson, Harvard Professor of History and presenter of the Channel 4 series Empire} or SSO = Single Sign On {BBC – courtesy of Azka Malik} or SSI = Single Sign In {Channel 4 – courtesy of Azka Malik} or SPD = Space Patrol Delta {courtesy of Finlay Gee, age 5} or SLT = Science Lecture Theatre {unearthed by renowned archaeologist Nick Golson} or SIV = Simian Immunodeficiency Virus {courtesy of Chris & Xand van Tulleken, the Medicine Men} or SDM = Sustainable Defence Mechanism {courtesy of Practical Psychologist from UNFCCC, the UN Climate Change agency} or SID = Sound Inner Dialogue {courtesy of Practical Psychologist and his Assertiveness training know-how} or Seismic Intruder Device {courtesy of Sebasian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming in Devil May Care aka DMC} or SOE = Special Operations Executive {courtesy of Les Femmes de l’Ombre/Female Agents} or Society of Operations Engineers [professional engineering membership organisation promoting career development in road transport, plant engineering or engineer surveying, and light on gorgeous French actresses] or STS = Short Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or SFT = Students for a Free Tibet (who unfurled banners near the Olympic stadium in Beijing today 6.8.08 ) or SRE = Sex and Relationship Education or SJP = Sarah Jessica Parker or SFO = Serious Fraud Office (which today decided not to investigate TV phone-in scandals at the BBC and ITV) or SRE = Sex and Relationships Education (much in the news in the wake of Sexperience X.09 ) or SOW = Scheme of Work or SHH = Special Half Hour (Richard Bacon show on BBC Radio 5, refers to 12.30-01.00) or SOP = Standard Operating Procedure (Billy Boyle by James Benn) or SDP = Social, Domestic and Pleasure only (car insurance jargon) + Social Democratic Party, Society of Decorative Painters, Session Description Protocol.

T – TDC = Thinly Disguised Contempt {courtesy of Technokitten} or TML = Trans Manche Link {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or TLC = (no, not what you think) Taxi and Limousine Commission {New York City} or TSB = Technology Strategy Board {offspring of another TLA, the DTI, which is now an FLA} or TLD = Top Level Domain or or TLR = Two-legged Rat [commonly used on doctors’ notes to indicate experimental/extreme treatment – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or TSE = Testicular Self-examination (thanks for the leaflet Una, TS Eliot must be turning in his grave) or TBH = To be honest {courtesy of Cowbite – “less pompous than imho” ihho} or TPT = Tara Palmer-Tomkinson [how many people are TLAs?] or TBL = Tim Berners Lee {courtesy of Stuart Cosgrove} or TBI = Traumatic Brain Injury {courtesy of Gary Trudeau as he addresses the issue of Iraq} or TLA = Three Letter Acronym and Teacher Learning Academy and Thomas Lord Audley school, Essex or TSV = Today’s Special Value as seen on QVC {courtesy of LJ Rich via Technokitten} or TBS = Talk Between Ships {Philip Kerr: Hitler’s Peace} or TMI = Too Much Information or TAC = The Archaeology Channel or TST = Traveller Support Team {courtesy of Siren’s Cry} or THR = The Hollywood Reporter {courtesy of THR spam} or TMO – Test Match Official {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or TCG = Tir Chonaill Gaels (GAA Gaelic football club in London)

U – UNV = United Nations Volunteers {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or URL = Uniform Resource Locator [not a directory of army tailors but the most oft used TLA of which no-one cares about the long form] or UBI = Unexplained Beer Injury [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or UUC – University of Ulster at Coleraine {courtesy of alumnus Practical Psychologist} or UKA = UK Athletics

V – VFM = Value for Money {courtesy of Paul Deane at Aardman} or VTT = Velo Tout Terrain [learnt in Ondres, Les Landes]

W – WCL = Web Component Library {courtesy Channel 4 New Media} or WRL = Work-related Learning {Skillset} or WTC = World Trade Centre {as in Man on Wire} or WTF = What the fuck! or WFH = Working from Home {courtesy of Louby} or WFK = Who fucking knows? {courtesy of Louby – “I made it up just for you.”}

X – XRF = X-ray florescence {courtesy of Practical Psychologist}

Y – YSL = Yves Saint Laurent (until something more useful comes along) or YIF = yours in friendship “and is used to sign off emails in groups like Ladies Circle and Girlguiding UK” {courtesy of Technokitten} or YMO = Yellow Magic Orchestra {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or YBA = Young British Artist(s) like Marc Quinn

Z – ZPL = Zero-error Probabilistic Logarithmic space {courtesy of Mat} (not too useful in my world but I think with Z it’s probably a case of beggars can’t be choosers) or ZTT = Zang Tumb Tuum {courtesy of Technokitten}

So the plan is to add to this list as I come across the little darlings.

Update 4.xii.07: As these little fellas (TLFs) multiply I’ve decided to give a bold award to the ones I most like

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