The title

The title is an echo of Alfred Russel Wallace's Line through the Malay Archipeligo which he postulated to explain the differences he observed in bird and animal species. The line runs between Borneo and Sulawesi, and between Bali and Lombok, Asian species (such as tigers) to the west , Australiasian species (such as marsupials) to the east. Nowadays the theory of tectonic plates and land bridges during ice ages provides an explanation for this disjuncture.

My appropriation is hardly warranted: ARW is no relation of mine, and I'm a teacher of computing, not natural history. I have crossed the Wallace line however, when a few years ago, my wife and I circumnavigated in our yacht Perdika of Bristol. It was in fact quite a struggle. The current flow through all these straits is fierce and we crabbed our way from Lombok to Bali, pointing fully 40 degrees north of our track over land, and later when motoring northwards up the strait, finding the inshore counter-current frighteningly close to the Bali shore.

The title also reflects the nature of a blog, a time-line of writing. I'm interested in time-lines and the representation of complex event-spaces at present, partly as a domain to use in my second year course on data structures which this semester will be looking at XML and XML databases, eXist in particular. I've also started to do a bit of genealogical research into my personal 'Wallace Line' and discovered how addictive this detective work is. From census records available online at, I find that my great-grandfather (or rather one of four of course) Ebenezer Wallace was a wine merchant in Edinburgh in the 1880's, a fact which makes my own consumption of good wines now feel like a family duty.