Marshaling paragraphs


in Daily updates, Oxford, Writing

Library at the Oxford Union

Sorry to go on and on about the thesis, but for some reason it has been dominated my attention recently. It has now taken on the character of being much like those large maps of Europe on which officers push around little tanks with long wooden poles. The tanks are there, the terrain is there, but their positions with respect to one another keep changing. A section on the nature of environmental ‘problems’ is somewhere near the border between the introduction and the first substantive chapter. Other bits have yet to be deployed into the theatre of operations, despite being fairly well constituted in and of themselves. Others are like the fledgling brigades of the new Iraqi army: assembled, in some sense, but far from ready to operate as part of a larger operation.

The draft introduction being submitted tomorrow is best seen as a first attempt to deploy a coherent strategy, with plenty of bits to be filled out later. The central issue is working out a broad way by which to coordinate the operations of disparate units, so as to develop sensible (if not entirely comprehensive) coverage of the terrain in dispute.

[Update: 8:30pm] This evolving draft section from my thesis may also be of use to general readers of this blog: Appendix I: Glossary and Table of Acronyms For those times when you can’t keep remember what was happening when UNECE (part of ECOSOC) negotiated the CLRTAP to deal with POPs (including PCBs).

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee February 4, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Where was that photo taken?

Milan February 4, 2007 at 7:26 pm

The ground floor library at the Oxford Union. If you hover your mouse cursor over any of my photos of the day in Firefox a description will come up.

Antonia February 4, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Love the way this library shot came out btw.

Milan February 4, 2007 at 8:23 pm


As far as shots of the library itself went, this one came out best. The others were marred because the lights come out as pure white, on account of the relatively narrow dynamic range of digital sensors.

Ben February 4, 2007 at 10:24 pm

I like the tank metaphor. I’m still eternally copy and pasting bits and pieces around from one section to the next – making it hard for me to estimate how many words I actually have…

Milan February 4, 2007 at 10:30 pm


Write the title of each bit on a 3″ x 5″ index card. Then, divide a poster board into the sections for your thesis and move things around until it seems to work.

This is the pen-and-paper equivalent of what I have been doing on the wiki.

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