As the end of the year draws close so too does a number of “traditional” milestones – namely Christmas and more importantly Dee’s 30th birthday.

30 has always been one of the big ones — the first birthday when you start counting in decades rather than years, something to be dreaded, especially for women. A big one; the last one similar was 9 years previous, then 3 years before that, then 2. Not prime-number intervals, which are my favourites, but I do see the symbolism and desire for a big celebration.

I hope she likes her gifts. I hope she reads this before her birthday, too — it will drive her mad.

And Christmas, supposedly a birthday celebration too but more likely modelled on an existing “pagan” celebration; hijacked to make the religion easier to introduce. We went to Bath last weekend and heard about how the Romans found the natural spring worshipped as blessed by Sulis, a Celtic Goddess of healing. Healing? they said, That sounds like Minerva! And so the Goddess “Sulis Minerva” was named.

So what are you doing to celebrate the new year?

Professor of Artificial Intelligence

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.