Slide rules to search engines: a unique slice of history!

This is a stream-of-consciousness post rather unlike my others. I hope you find it entertaining.

View of Gaza protest from behind Scottish Jews for a Just Peace

View of Gaza protest from behind Scottish Jews for a Just Peace

I have just logged on to my Facebook profile and accepted an invitation to join the Photograph a Police Officer Today group. The internet informed me of this appalling law and I was reminded of my recent participation in a demonstration in Edinburgh against Zionist atrocities in Gaza when I was filmed and photographed by several police officers (as were the other protestors, including Scottish Jews for a Just Peace; opposing Israel’s policies is not anti-semitic). This at a time when Tony Blair, war criminal or certifiably insane (to give him the benefit of the doubt), has just been given a million-dollar leadership prize – beyond parody and satire!
George Bush - No. 1 Terrorist. (In my opinion Tony Blair isn't far behind.) Picture taken on Edinburgh Gaza demo 10 January 2009.

George Bush - No. 1 Terrorist. (In my opinion Tony Blair isn't far behind. Note that I have photographed police officers!) Picture taken on Edinburgh Gaza demo 10 January 2009.

Start of Edinburgh Gaza protest 10 January 2009

Start of Edinburgh Gaza protest 10 January 2009

Anyway, when I got my rage under control, I reflected on networking sites, the internet and the double-edged wonders of the modern age in general. (I am making an effort these days to see everything in perspective/from more than one point of view.) That led me to think about how my generation (I was born in 1964), and that of my parents (born in the 1930s), are unique. We had the benefit of learning to use abacuses, slide rules and log books, and then learnt to use calculators and computers. In fact, I was lucky enough to learn to programme (“program” in US sp.) computers in BASIC in the early 80s. I enjoyed the Metamagical Themas (an anagram of “mathematical games”) column in Scientific American and would type the formulae into my father’s “New Brain” computer, an experience I incorporated into my novel.

I grew up reading books (often under my bedsheets with the aid of a torch) and watched very little television (not least because much of my childhood was in what was then called Rhodesia and there was only a single black-and-white channel that started at 5 p.m. and closed at midnight, or earlier). My brain benefited, I arrogantly maintain. “Ok then,” you say, “if you’re so clever why aren’t you rich?”

“Ah ha,” I respond, “you shallow, materialistic so-and-so!”

In fact, the truth is that my life thus far has been a struggle to find a way of earning a living that accords with my conscience, a struggle made explicit in my novel and my tongue-in-cheek veterinary book, written under a pseudonym, and of which I now bravely admit authorship. Thank goodness I have at last found a way to reconcile earning a living with my troublesome conscience. I work for an MSP for whom I have the highest regard (although I am not a member of any political party), and I help remarkable people tell their amazing stories, ones that will benefit many. I say “earning a living”, but it depends on you buying the books and commissioning me to help you! 😉

For the curious, here are my major current internet manifestations (regrettably not all updated regularly):

R Eric Swanepoel on the Society of Authors website

R Eric Swanepoel on Facebook

Eric Swanepoel on Myspace
Josh Artmeier on Myspace
R Eric Swanepoel on Ecademy

This is not me.

I may be distantly related to these lovely people:

Candice Swanepoel
Landi Swanepoel

This is my father!

Best wishes


BioWrite website

BioWrite website

About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
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