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Black Box Thinking, Spitfires, And The Centenary Of The First Two Minutes Silence (Or - How I Found Out That "Sideways Thinking" Is Not Quite As Daft As You May Think)
Every so often I buy a book purely based on either its title or its cover.  (Yes - I do know that saying about not judging books by their covers.  However, sometimes I just cannot resist odd titles or interesting looking covers.)

"Black Box Thinking" by Matthew Syed, sounded like it would either be a book I would love or it would be what I think of as a "Double PhD book" - with at least one PhD on a subject concerned with the inner workings of either the human brain or the electrical circuitry and software which enables a "Black Box" Flight Recorder to work.

It turned out to be a mix of both a "Double PhD Book" and a nice relaxing read (with a couple of chapters which scared the daylights out of me).

One fact from that book which stuck in my brain was about the first foldable pushchair having the landing gear (as in wheels, etc) from a Spitfire aircraft.

Talking of "Military" machines, etc, I have a question for you.

When was the first Two Minutes Silence held?  If you say at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 - you would be completely wrong.  In fact - as I have been reliably informed by Roger Nield (who seems to be very interested in Military stuff - what with being involved with a project down in Surrey to help ex-Forces veterans cope with Civilian life) the first "Armistice Day" Rememberance event actually happened just over 2 and a half years later than the first Two Minutes Silence.

The first Two Minutes Silence was actually held on 1 May 1916, to remember the soldiers who had been killed at the Battle of the Somme, in Belgium.  The date only got changed after the signing of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

The first Two Minutes Silence being held on 1 May 1916, is quite intriguing in a way (for me anyway).  On 4 May 2016, the Dutch will have their version of "Remembrance Day", followed by "Liberation Day" on 5 May 2016.  (Although - as I have blogged previously - there is still a reasonably strong connection between the Netherlands of today and the Second World War.)

One thing which did make me smile in the "Black Box Thinking" book was the fact that "Sideways Thinking" was actually spoken about as a very good thing in it.

I know there may be (second thoughts - there are) people who read this blog wondering what I am going to write about next and how outlandish I am going to make the topic sound.

However - as demonstrated by things like the first foldable pushchairs - without "Sideways Thinkers" like me we would still be looking for solutions to problems from long ago (and someone who shared James Dyson's frustration with vaccuum cleaner bags and their influence on decreasing suction power would probably be very angry by now).

Thoughts and ideas can be seen as extremely weird but - sometimes - with a little luck, knowledge, and stubbornness, they can help us make life easy for ourselves as well as making the world a better place.

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