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The Collective

Yesterday evening I took a visit with my other half and her mother to see the Manchester Beekeepers Association at work in the beautiful Heaton Park.  The setup is truly amazing with countless hives, a honey extraction room, a specialist library and a fascinating glass fronted observation hive where you can clearly watch the bees go about their business, and presumably they can watch you too.  Apparently there are an estimated 2 million bees in residence there.

Beekeeping in Heaton Park

It’s no secret that, like many self respecting techies, I like to watch the odd episode of Star Trek now and again.  Having watched far too many episodes of Star Trek Voyager recently, I was interested to note that whenever the word “hive” was mentioned, I’d instantly think of The Borg, a fictional lethal enemy with a collective conscience often referred to as The Collective or The Hive Mind.  Words (particularly English words) can have many different meanings depending on the context.  Even after a sentence with the word “hive” was understood, my mind still jumped to the primary context, or at least the most recently used context in a given time period, in this case, The Borg.

Funnily enough, our route home took us down Singleton Road.  Although the word “singleton” generally means something occurring singly, I have only every used this term in programming to mean the only object of a given class.  This made me think of other “borged” words, i.e. words whose primary contexts have been hijacked because I spend much of my time programming:

  • Program: a computer program rather than a TV program.
  • Class: the definition or template for an object rather than a group of children at school.
  • Java: a programming language rather than a cup of coffee.
  • Cloud: a network of servers hosting an application or service rather than those fluffy things in the sky.

Add to that memory, mouse, disk and the list goes on …

The Manchester Beekeepers Association holds regular courses which we’re looking forward to attending with a view to doing a spot of beekeeping after that.  I wonder if I’ll think of the bees in Heaton Park the next time I watch an episode of Star Trek!

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