Monday, May 18, 2015
Parliament met for the first time since the election today, for the Commons to elect their Speaker, and for peers to affirm or swear.new oaths of loyalty to the Queen. In he Lords there was the usual arcane procedure at the beginning of a new Parliament, under which Black Rod is sent to fetch MPs to hear a message being delivered on Her Majesty's behalf ostensibly by a Commission of Privy Councillors, but actually read out by the Clerk. The MPs stand at the bar while the the message is read, accompanied by Black Rod, whose function appears to be purely decorative. On his occasion, however, as they all turned round to leave, the Prime Minister had to dodge a blow from the end of Black Rod's rod, see https://twitter.com/rosschawkins/status/600296448186515456/photo/1.
A week ago last Sunday night I had a violent attack by a gastric virus and was out of action for most of the week including the Lubbock Lecture at the Oxford University Engineering Laboratories on Friday, given by Professor Hugh Durrabt-Whyte FRS, Professsor of Engineering at the University of Sydney, on Rise of the Machines. He is a world renowned expert on robots, who pioneered the family of methods for simultaneous localisation and mapping - SLAM - of robots in an unknown environment. Lyulph tells me a video of the lecture will be on the Engineering Department's website in about a week.