L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

01 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Dear Publishers

Other than a select few (and you know who you are) that is,

As ebooks become more popular the question of ebook pricing is beginning to become more important. As more and more people get their Kindles and Sonys and the like the more they begin to notice that ebooks aren't always cheap and that the price seems to vary in highly inconsistent ways.

The latest person to encounter this is Test Driver Liz over at SBTB:

During the media blitz for Tempt Me At Twilight the price of $14.99 was floated. This led to the very natural assumption that the book was probably going to be a trade paperback. Since Lisa Kleypas’s last two books were hardcover - a great deal right? Then, when the loyal reader of Ms. Kleypas is offered the e-book at $9.99 (or $12.99 depending on your e-tailer) it seems like something you can swallow. Sure, it’s more than a mass market, but it’s not as much as a hardcover and you won’t have to wait a year to read one of your favorite authors. Ok, let’s buy it!! So you do. And then you go to Target to buy some Cheerios. Cereal is cheaper there and we’re all watching our money these days.

Wait - why is Tempt Me At Twilight on the shelf as a mass market? With a list price of $7.99? And a sale sticker making it $5.99? What the (buy extra soap, here’s where you start needing it) um, heck is going on here? You might, if you bought it from Sony, rush home to find out why Sony was cheating you. You might find that all the e-tailers have this price listed. In any other world, you’d return the overpriced product and stop shopping at that store. But e-books cannot be returned. You realize that Ms. Kleypas is most likely not making an additional cent due to this pricing structure but the publisher will be earning an extra $4 to $7 per e-book due to a deliberate increase in price for the right to have a copy of the book that did not need to be bound, shipped, shelved or returned and that cannot be traded, loaned or donated. Sure, we could argue about if hardcovers cost the same as trades cost the same as paperbacks but it’s pretty hard to tell me that a highly restricted digital copy is worth twice as much as a traditional paper copy released on the same day. In short, the publisher has extended a finger one does not use in polite company to e-book readers and author loyalists.

Oh boy I understand Test Driver Liz' pain here. In fact I wrote a rant about this  2 years ago and followed up last Jaunary. The rants were regarding Harper Collins and Lois M Bujold's Sharing knife books (hence the titles Harper Collins are Clueless Morons and Harper Collins are STILL Clueless Morons), but I'm well aware that other publishers also fail to clue test in this regard - as Macmillan demonstrate here.

The point - dear publishers - is that you are selling your wares to literate (and numerate) folks who are able to do things like price comparisons. If we discover that a heap of (DRM crippled) electrons costs us more than a pile of cellulose we begin to smell a large rodent and to feel like someone is ripping us off. Humans have a fairly well developed sense of fairness - and, as the Music industry can tell anyone who asks, thanks to the Internet it is very easy for people to decide not to pay for content if they think they are being ripped off. Various publishers have claimed (at various times) that it costs a lot to make a book into an ebook and that it takes time - and hence the ebook comes after the printed one. The problems with these claims is that we don't believe you. This lack of belief occurs for a couple of reasons

a) it seems pretty obvious that the print ready copy of the book must be available months before the book hits the shelves and that hence - using this thing called workign in parallel - some minion could take that copy and turn it into half a dozen ebook formats while the printers and shippers are doing their thing, it probably takes a week or so. Ditto with the price. One minion working for one week (ok I'll be generous 2 weeks) can almost certainly turn any print ready document into an ebook. This is going to cost maybe $2000 ($50000 annual salary, 2 weeks vacation --> $1000 per work week). OK add in benefits and office space rent etc. and maybe we're looking at $3000. If the same stage of work (typesetting and printing the print run) costs less than $3000 for the real book I'd be amazed. Hence unless there is some problem which is not immediately apparent (and yanno if that's the case explain it somewhere) the claims that ebooks are bound to be later and cost more looks about as believable as Obama's healthcare claims

ii) backing up a) we have the example of Baen Books where lo and behold ebooks arrive on the website a few weeks before the treeware ones arrive pn Amazon and in bookstores and where they cost $4-$6 which is less than the cost of the tree version.

Now I am sure that Amazon and DRM peddlers and others take large chunks of the retail selling price. It is possible that these chunks are why ebooks are expensive (amazon and others frequently discount treeware books for bulk sales but don't seem to do this so much for electrons), but if that is the case then I suggest you have a page somewhere where you explain these costs. Your readership is (duh) able to read. So if you say something like "a $9.99 ebook at amazon nets us the publisher $3.99 because amazon grabs 60% of the sticker price and $3.99 is less than we get from a $8.99 paperback then we'll understand it - and expect that other ebook retailers might offer your book for less - but if you don't disclose these details (or if the Amazon price turns out to be the cheapest one) then it looks like entity doing the profiteering is you - the publisher.

Oh and if I've got your attention, may I suggest that you explain how much the authors get. It doesn't have to be accurate to the cent but roughly and compare print with ebook. Something like:
eBook costs $9.99, amazon gets $6, author gets $1.20.
HC costs $25, amazon (or B&N..) gets $12.50, author gets $2.
TPB costs $12.99, amazon gets $6.50, author gets $1.20
MMPB costs $7.99, amazon gets $4, author gets $1

You see there bit of the book chain we readers care about is the author. The rest of the chain is less important. We might accept a higher price if more of the money went to the poor sucker who wrote the book. We won't accept a higher price if the sucker doesn't get any more.

Yours Sincerely

A Reader

01 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Briffa Responds Regarding Yamal

And (IMHO) speaks with forked tongue when he does so. So much so that I'm going to fisk him.

My attention has been drawn to a comment by Steve McIntyre on the Climate Audit website relating to the pattern of radial tree growth displayed in the ring-width chronology "Yamal" that I first published in Briffa (2000). The substantive implication of McIntyre's comment (made explicitly in subsequent postings by others) is that the recent data that make up this chronology (i.e. the ring-width measurements from living trees) were purposely selected by me from among a larger available data set, specifically because they exhibited recent growth increases.

Paragraph 1's claim is that people such as I believe Briffa worked back from the answer to derive the question. The reason why we think that is that other studies of trees in the vicinity have different results but yet the result that seems most widely cited is the one that is most closely allied with the idea that recent global temperatures are unprecedentedly hot. The problem here is that Brifa's actions - modifying the divergent Taymir but not the Yamal and so on - seem to suggest that not all chronologies are treated equally and that the ones that get modified are the ones that fail to meet the narrative.

This is not the case. The Yamal tree-ring chronology (see also Briffa and Osborn 2002, Briffa et al. 2008) was based on the application of a tree-ring processing method applied to the same set of composite sub-fossil and living-tree ring-width measurements provided to me by Rashit Hantemirov and Stepan Shiyatov which forms the basis of a chronology they published (Hantemirov and Shiyatov 2002). In their work they traditionally applied a data processing method (corridor standardisation) that does not preserve evidence of long timescale growth changes. My application of the Regional Curve Standardisation method to these same data was intended to better represent the multi-decadal to centennial growth variations necessary to infer the longer-term variability in average summer temperatures in the Yamal region: to provide a direct comparison with the chronology produced by Hantemirov and Shiyatov.

This is probably the key paragraph, and the one where Briffa is most guilty of "supressio veri" and "suggestion falsi". The implication one gets from paragraph 2 is that Briffa uses the same data as H&S and that all he is doing is running a different processing method on the same raw data. As it happens it is relatively trivial to show that Briffa is using rather more cores than H&S do for their chronologies - that is to say that H&S discard data that Briffa uses. All you do is take the H&S data and import it into a spreadsheet, noting that the final column is the count of cores for the year (column 1). Then you run a perl script* on Briffa's data to extract the count of cores for each year and output that in "year count" format. This is then imported into the spreadsheet on a different worksheet. Then you take the H&S core count for the same years as Briffa (-202 - 1996) and paste it into column 3 od the briffa page. Finally you chart the three colunms and get
Full 202BC to present
Differences during the entire Briffa data set (click to enlarge)
Recent Years Yamal Core counts
Last 200 years (click to enlarge)
Guess what? Briffa is using more cores than H&S do throughout the sequence. Using more cores is probably a good thing but not always.My understanding of H&S (and it is confirmed in the paragrpah above) is that H&S deliberately picked the longest lived trees. Briffa, as Steve shows in this chart of average age, while undoubtedly many trees are indeed old at any one time in Briffa's core selection one also has numerous younger trees.
Briffa average age (with the Schweingruber 34)
Furthermore a glance at the sequence numbers in Briffa's data indicates that there are cores that are omitted from his data too. We have (for example) the following as the first 30 (alpabetically sorted) core names:
L00081,L00082,L00083, L00131, L00132, L00133,L00134, L00151, L00152, L00191,
L00661, L00681, L00701, L00751, L00771, L00811, L00861, L00891, L00901, L00941, L00961,
L01001, L01031, L01041, L01051, L01061, L01071, L01151
the final digit is probably the core sample from a particular tree so this list implies that we have one core ftom JAH14 one from JAH16 (what happened to JAH01-JAH13 and JAH15?), then we have three cores from L0008, three from L0013, two from L0015, one from L0019 then a big gap to L0066 and so on. Again one wonders what happened to L0001-L0007, L0020-L0065 and so on and why some trees were so good that they got two or three of their cores in the chronology. One would assume that all the cores from a single tree would be pretty similar so that looks like overweighting some trees.

Now I'm sure there's a reason WHY Briffa used multiple cores from some trees and skipped others entirely, and why H&S skipped some of the ones Briffa used (not long enough chronologies?), but no matter how you spin it this doesn't sound like Briffa and H&S used the same data for their calculations. It would be more accrate to say that Biffa and H&S used the different overlapping subsets of the same data for their calculations.

These authors state that their data (derived mainly from measurements of relic wood dating back over more than 2,000 years) included 17 ring-width series derived from living trees that were between 200-400 years old. These recent data included measurements from at least 3 different locations in the Yamal region. In his piece, McIntyre replaces a number (12) of these original measurement series with more data (34 series) from a single location (not one of the above) within the Yamal region, at which the trees apparently do not show the same overall growth increase registered in our data.

Oddly the more recent years are dropped for many of the 17 living trees. If the trees were still living one might expect the count of 17 to remain as the modern minimum. It doesn't. The reason why Steve M adds/replaces an additional 34 trees from nearby is that the core count drops so much at the end. It therefore seems reasonable that, as Briffa himself did with his Taymir/Avam-Taymir study, someone should add some additional trees at the end. At least these trees are smack bang in the long/lat zone of the original H&S Study and not 300 km away as Avam is from Taymir. One might add that we have no idea how distant the Schweingruber 34 are from any of the H&S sample sites.

The basis for McIntyre's selection of which of our (i.e. Hantemirov and Shiyatov's) data to exclude and which to use in replacement is not clear but his version of the chronology shows lower relative growth in recent decades than is displayed in my original chronology. He offers no justification for excluding the original data; and in one version of the chronology where he retains them, he appears to give them inappropriate low weights. I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation. Subsequent postings appear to pay no heed to these caveats. Whether the McIntyre version is any more robust a representation of regional tree growth in Yamal than my original, remains to be established.

This is very rather cheeky. Steve replaced the 12 surviving trees with data in the 1980s because these trees seem to The hockey stick treeshow dramatic growth in the 20th century with 34 other trees from nearby in order to see whether the 20th centruy growth spurt was common to other trees in that area. His result pretty clearly showed that it wasn't and indeed subsequent number crunching seems to indcate that most of this growth spurt is due to a single core (YAD061). I should note that the low weighting comment appears to be bunk - as Briffa could verify by running the code Steve has made available - unless I've misunderstood things all Steve does is add 34 trees with each tree given equal weight. As for robustness, it is worth pointing out that the Esper Polar Urals, the H&S Yamal and a paper by Gurskaya of nearby Ust Voykar all show similar results for 20th century tree rings whereas Briffa's Yamal differs. It also seems highly likely that if core YAD061 is removed Briffa's results will be more in line with the others, which suggests where the robustness problem lies.

My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data. We do not select tree-core samples based on comparison with climate data. Chronologies are constructed independently and are subsequently compared with climate data to measure the association and quantify the reliability of using the tree-ring data as a proxy for temperature variations.

This paragraph in itself seems to hint at the problem. Briffa has to assume that tree ring chronologies are proxies for climate change because if it turns out they aren't he's out of funding. In other words even if he does the chronology first and then matches it to the temperature record he's made an assumption that the one is a proxy for the other. Furthermore it seems to my uneducated lay pespective that the case has yet to be made that tree rings en masse are a proxy for anything on a global scale. Even if we take Briffa's own 10 most recent trees we see considerable variation in the 20th century growth:
Briffa's cores in the 20th centruy
I'm not going to run the correlation but I'd be surprised if these records showed consistent correlation as visually there are dramatic differences.

We have not yet had a chance to explore the details of McIntyre's analysis or its implication for temperature reconstruction at Yamal but we have done considerably more analyses exploring chronology production and temperature calibration that have relevance to this issue but they are not yet published. I do not believe that McIntyre's preliminary post provides sufficient evidence to doubt the reality of unusually high summer temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century.

Its good to know that treemometer mining continues apace. Unfortunately the final sentence seems to miss the point - possibly deliberately. Steve is not questioning whether recent summers were hotter than in the past he is questioning whether tree rings are a robust and reliable proxy for temperatures. Given that the addition or removal of a handful of cores makes significant differences to the output those who claim there is a demonstrable relationship need to work a bit harder and not be quite so defensive.

use LWP::Simple;
my %s;
my $bb = get('http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/melvin/PhilTrans2008/YamalADring.raw');

sub line {
my @y = split( /\s+/, shift );
shift (@y).$/;
my $y = shift (@y);
for (@y) {
last if $_ eq '-9999';
$s{$y++} ++;

for (split /\s*\n\s*/s, $bb) {
line ($_);

print "$_  $s{$_}\n" for (sort {$a <=> $b} keys %s);

02 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

20091002 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging

The vines that grow on our house are doing the wonderful turning red thing. The contrast between yellow-red vine and green-silver olive leaf  is one of those things that I love to see every autumn.
Turning leaves
As always click on the image to see it enlarged and don't forget to visit of the olive tree blogging archives for further reminders of how nice olive trees are.

05 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Award Winning Journalism?

So the BBC mentioned casually this morning that they had won an Online Journalism Award, which sounded promising until they added that one of the other winners was the New York Times. And indeed this is true:

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Site
nytimes.com, The New York Times
The New York Times stands above others. What I like about the way they use technology is that they are really thinking about their readers. The content is superb. The elegance of their photo editing stands out. In the digital area they are more innovative than others. IN terms of execution, in terms of content, in terns of just about everything you can think about, these guys hit it. When I consider general excellence I consider every department on that site. There's no question about it to me, the New York Times comes out on top.

Which kinda clashed with some other people's views of the NY Times online. Firstly there's the list of recent journalism failures (Van Jones, Acorn etc.) which led some poor woman to say:

someone asked if she had heard the latest about Acorn, "I had to answer 'no' because I get all my news from The New York Times."

And then there's the real no-no of stealthy rewrites, such as this recent one regarding the Chicago Olympics fail:
I think the OJA has just proven itself to be a complete waste of time. Unless of course they were confused and meant to ward the York New Times of York, England but got confused?

05 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Nanny State Beer

If I had the disposable income I'd be buying a case of this beer for every cabinet minister and sending it to them. Perhaps someone can suggest getting a keg of it to serve in the House of commons bar instead?
Nanny State beer label
Alternatively one could no doubt send them bottles of this wine, which showed up last month in our local supermarket.
Actually it doesn't taste like $#!+
Perhaps a combination package would make the point clearest. Anyway I found about about the brew by reading about it at the Daily Mail website. No not the London one full of bansturbators but the West Virginia one where Don Surber is a blogger. Nanny state beer is produced by a scottish company called "Brew Dog" as a protest against the whiners who think one of their other beers should be banned.

Nanny state beer is 1.1% ABV but allegedly has all the flavour of the real thing (since I haven't tasted any I can neither confirm nor deny this), in comparison to their Tokyo* beer which weighed in at 18.2% ABV.

Needless to say the humourless bansturbators as not happy with Nanny State either:

The name of the beer proves that once again this company is failing to acknowledge the seriousness of the alcohol problem facing Scotland

quoth some fake charity bansturbating numpty called Jack Law according to the BBC. Thereby showing his inability to comprehend the concept of free will or the possibilty of being known as a grown up. No doubt he's a great pal of John Cowan or since both hail from North Briton John Smith, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and seem to get their orgasms by proposing that the rest of us be kept safe, smothered in cotton wool by an all caring state.

06 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

"Save the Dragons" update

We're about half way through the "Save the Dragons" experiment and we're running out of paid for chapters. There's still a few weeks left at one chapter a week but we need more visitors to read the book so far (11 chapters) and donate. If we don't get any more donations then Dave Free will be leaving some of his pets behind in South Africa.

Save the dragons cover
The good news is we have outstanding cover art - art that you understand if you've read Chapter 10 - and two different layouts using it (as illustrated above and below).
more save the dragons cover art
I think #2 is better but we have a poll on the Save the Dragons LJ community to see what others think.

It is perhaps also time for a review of the book so far. Our hero, Squigs, is a tall skinny geek whose parents sent him to English boarding schools and who then went to Oxford to read Alchemy (it's a little known fact that Oxford University has an Alchemy Faculty). Unfortunately his alchemical studies are terminated by a visit from some gentlement from the Carpaccio Corporation - specifically the Chief Executive Office (emphasis on Execute) and his henchmen. Squigs manages to put his alchemical knowledge to good use and and escapes the Carpaccio Corporation into another world. Where he lands in a pile of hippo turd in front of a short but beautiful young lady in a green skintight costume. Since he's been on the run for a while and since he managed to leave his right hand behind in the most recent maneuver he promptly keels over in a faint.

When he recovers he discovers that the young lady, and her father, also short but built like a brick shithouse, are dragon hunters on a quest to save the dragons from being mowed down by machine-gun wielding maniacs on hovercraft. Squigs volunteers to help (thanks in part to a large mug of medicinal distilled alcohol product) and the story, with some of the previously described backstory weaved in describes the quest and the rocky road to romance of the alchemical geek. Oh and there's a ghostly parrot that becomes attached to him.

It is, IMO, very funny. Reminiscent of Tom Holt - the earlier and funnier ones anyway - or perhaps a combination of Pterry and Tom Sharpe. Read it, enjoy and don't forget to drop a few $$$ in the paypal tip jar!

09 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

20091009 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging

On Wednesday I did a gentle jog along the Canal de la Siagne - an irrigation canal that I've blogged about before - taking photos. This jaunt was from Mouans Sartoux to Grasse and is but a portion of the entire canal. At some point I'll do the Mougins stretch and the much larger bit upstream of Grasse. The canal was built to provide water to the olive tree groves and other fields in the Val de Grasse as well as to the inhabitants of Cannes and the coast. It winds along the hillside avoiding most built up areas (Grasse and bits of Mougins being notable exceptions) and is an echo back to a rural past gradually disappearing. This photo is looking towards Grasse and includes some of the olive trees that have no doubt benefited from its water over the last century plus since it was built.
20091009 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging
As always click on the image to see it enlarged and don't forget to visit of the olive tree blogging archives for further reminders of how nice olive trees are.

09 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Frederic "All Thaied Up" Mitterand

As those who follow the news know, Frederic Mitterand's vehement support of Roman "Child-rapist" Polanski seems to have been motivated by more than just his admiration for the latter's movies. It seems Mitterand too has a thing for hot young bodies (male in his case) and, in his autobiography, appeared to claim that he'd done a Gary Glitter in the boy brothels of Bangkok. At least that's pretty much how everyone interpreted the key section of the book once their attention was drawn to it.

However Mitterand seems to have managed to weasel his way to a denial on TV last night which I think I can translate and simplify as follows: "those cute little hairless thai rent-boys aren't actually 12 but they look like it so it's only virtual pedophilia and it's not fair to punish someone for not actually raping real little boys."

Of course he didn't say that but it seems to be the only way to square the sections of the book where he talks (thanks Charles Bremner) about "Garçons" (boys) and "Gosses" (kids). As Mr Bremner also says the book is pretty much dynamite and in most other countries would dash anyone's hopes for high office even if you didn't notice the apparent (longing for) masses of Man Boy sex. But in France he got a pass from the elites because all the really rotten things seem to have taken place a long time ago outside France. Hence no one really batted an eyelid when Sarko appointed him as minister for arty farty businessculure. Indeed one suspects his book was one of those that many people bought thanks to the reviews praising its literary quality etc. but few actually read hence they didn't really know what bad things he'd claimed to have got up to.

But that was before he started defending Pedo Polanski. At that point someone recalled the Thai sections of the book and pointed out the "conflict of interest". Given that the French public opinion has been heavily against Polanski once people were told what he'd actually done, it should not have been too surprising to find people wondering why Mitterand would say of Polanski:"To see him like that, thrown to the lions because of ancient history, really doesn't make any sense". Mind you this has been a crisis where the French MSM has done the NY Slimes trick and ignored public opinion until it was forced to pay attention.

Part of the reason for the delicate way that the French establishment is handling this affair is that the original accuser was Marine Le Pen, the heir apparent of her father as leader of the right-wing xenophobic Front National. But I think that this is a very dangerous tack to take. The FN have faded recently as a force because Sarko borrowed many of their less racist and more reasonable positions/policies, however, just as the BNP has benefited from ZANU Labour ignoring the feelings of the (non-)working classes, so the FN could well capitalise on the UMP's apparent happiness to have a minister who has fantasized about, if not performed, sex with young boys. If at the next election the FN can claim to be the only party resolutely against pedophilia they'll win votes.

09 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Obama, Peace Prize Winner, WTF?

Dear Swedish jury. May I list President Obama's accomplishments regarding world peace to date:
It's quite an outstanding list isn't it for 9 months in office? Though it does also include his glorious multi-month career as a US Senator (24% of votes missed) and his years as a community activist peace maker in Illinois.

15 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

Normal Service Resumed

As my regular readers may have noticed we dropped off the internet for a while. Its long and complicated to explain why but we're back now. Except that I'm off to Japan so posting may be more intermittent.

16 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

20091016 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging

20091016 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging
Stuff made from chunks of olive wood on sale in a shop on the Presqu'ile de Giens near Hyères in the Var. Given how tought Olive wood is I'm impressed with some of these as the have to have come from pretty old trees and then taken a lot of carving.

23 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

20091023 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging

Tokyo olive trees outside a restaurant in Minato-ku not far from the Tokyo Tower. When I lived in Tokyo I worked not very far from the site of this restaurant but I'm pretty sure it didn't exist then.
20091023 - Friday Olive Tree Blogging
As always click on the image to see it enlarged and don't forget to visit of the olive tree blogging archives for further reminders of how nice olive trees are.

26 October 2009 Blog Home : All October 2009 Posts : Permalink

My Grandfathers in the War(s)

As noted in various spots the racist far left politician Nick Griffin landed quite a percieved swipe on Jack Straw when they let him onto TV by claiming that whereas Griffin's father was in the RAF during the (second) world war, Straw's was a conscious objector.

It is entirely possible that Griffin senior was a heroic RAF figher pilot saving the country in the Battle of Britain and that Straw senior was a snivelling coward who dodged bullets by claiming his conscience was offended. However it is also quite within the realms of possibility that Griffin père was some kind of RAF paper pusher who never heard an enemy bomb or bullet while serving while Pa Straw was one of the incredibly brave Ambulance men who risked their lives over and over again to save the wounded, both their own and the enemy's.

We don't have enough information to say.

As it happens one of my grandfathers died in WW2 during the retreat to Dinkirk. He was undoubtedly brave and since I understand that his last orders were to blow up a bridge to stop advancing Germans on the Franco-Belgian border his death may even have been critical to the retreat. But I think no less of my other grandfather who was a conscious objector in WW1 and did the Ambulance service thing in Italy and Russia. I expect saw more danger in his war than his son (my father) did in the tail end of WW2 where he cracked Japanese codes in Bletchley.

The map is not the territory, the label is not the man.