All posts by Mike Wilson

3d Printed Printing Press

3d printed printing press

I printed this mini press from the design by the Open Press project. It will print up to about 6cm wide. I plan to do some dry point etching in plastic plates designed for the purpose. I’ll have to wait a few days as the ink & paper I’ll need are on order. This is the most ambitious project I’ve attempted on my 3d printer. Three of the parts took a day each to print.

3d Printed Printing Press
3d Printed Printing Press

Meditation for people who can’t, don’t or won’t meditate

Here’s a very quick & simple meditation that takes longer to explain than it does to do. Although it’s quick, it is still beneficial. Practiced regularly it will increase calm and promote presence.

This is based on the “One Breath Meditation”, so if you’ve seen that short video on social media, you’ll know what I’m on about. I will go into a little more detail which I hope will be useful.

The idea is to simply become present to wherever we are for the duration of one breath. Notice where you are, what you can see & hear, inhale & exhale normally. Done. Don’t struggle or try to grasp what’s there; just become present and allow the world to come to you. When it works, it’s effortless. It may happen immediately, or it may take a little practice, but soon you will experience, for as long as a breath lasts, the world seeming more real, more detailed. Have you ever watched TV or a film and the picture was out of focus or blurred, but you didn’t notice until it was corrected? The experience is a bit like that.

This meditation works very well while walking in the forest, in the park, on the beach, in whatever green space is available. It’s even useful while waiting in the supermarket checkout queue. I have found it impossible to be impatient or grumpy while present to the place. The only time it probably isn’t a good idea is when driving or operating machinery.

If practicing this while walking, notice your walking speed. How fast seems correct for becoming present to the place? You may find it’s a low slower than your usual pace. If you like, practice the one breath meditation several times on a walk.

New paintings

After a break of many years I was recently inspired to start painting again. I have been making abstract works on canvas. They’re all about paint & colour.

Acrylic on canvas, 20x50cm

I have been using a black border to lift the colour, an effect I think works well.

Acrylic on canvas, 20x50cm
Acrylic on canvas 20x20cm

I have been working on small canvases as I live in a small flat. At the moment I’m using a small section of kitchen worktop.

Acrylic on canvas, 20x20cm

Paintings are available from my Etsy shop Whispering Wind Art UK

Ambient Music Composition

I have been attempting to compose some ambient music. I have rudimentary music skills & know just enough music theory to be dangerous. I made this piece on my iPad using a field recording I made of birdsong, GarageBand & an amazing app called Guitar Scaper which generated the guitar sounds. I’m not sure whether this is finished or not. I’d quite like to add some melody, but every time I try something I end up deleting it and going back to just the guitar & birdsong.

Bird song Lime Road

What good is the EU?

There is so much valuable information available about the EU. I wish I’d known about this before the 2016 referendum. Those of us who wanted to remain in the EU were complacent, didn’t believe we would vote to leave. The remain campaign was mostly negative, and was often dismissed as “Project Fear”. A positive campaign on the benefits of the EU would have been harder to dismiss so easily. If there is a referendum in 2019 on the terms of withdrawal with the option to remain, here is some useful information for positive campaigning.

UK & EU courts

This post is about the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and not the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECJ is part of the European Union, the ECHR is not. The ECJ is more correctly known as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Some UK citizens are concerned that the CJEU can overrule UK courts which they believe leads to a loss of sovereignty. The CJEU’s role is “Ensuring EU law is interpreted and applied the same in every EU country; ensuring countries and EU institutions abide by EU law.” UK Members of European Parliament vote on EU laws and only rarely object. The court has two judges from each member country. The court can overrule UK policy, so this does suggest some loss of national sovereignty.

Bear in mind, though, that the only way for a nation state to have complete sovereignty is to be completely isolated. Even the largely isolated North Korea is dependant on China.

Every trade agreement between two nations or trading block will have an arbitration clause: what happens if one partner believes the other is not following the letter of the agreement. If, for example, UK made a trade agreement with USA, the arbitrator will not be a British court, and so a little sovereignty is lost.

Jim Grace posted a list on Twitter of the times the Court overruled UK. You might enjoy reading through this list looking for something that has a negative impact on you personbally.

https://twitter.com/mac_puck/status/1093158790394978304

Further reading

UK, EU & commercial fishing

Claims sometimes appear on social media that “the EU won’t let UK fishers catch fish in UK waters”. The true story is only slightly longer:

  • Each EU country was given a quota of fish of different fish species that can be caught & landed. This is to make sure there are some fish left for our grandchildren.
  • The quotas are a commodity that can be traded.
  • The UK government sold UK quotas to UK fishers.
  • Some of these fishers sold the quotas on for a profit.
  • Some of the people buying the UK quotas were citizens of other EU countries.
  • The UK government is the only one in the EU to allow quotas to be sold to other EU countries.

So the problem with UK fishers not being able to catch fish in EU waters has been caused by the UK government allowing quotas to be sold outside the UK. An example of the EU being blamed for a problem caused by the UK’s government.

It should be noted that the quotas are subject to international property law, and so post Brexit, the UK government could not deny the owners of those quotas access to UK waters.