I can’t help thinking that the twenty-first century is going to be one of general crisis. We’re seeing the start of it now, and on historical precedent of similar scale things in the past I imagine disruption will carry on for a generation or more, one way or another. It’s not the first time such … More The general crisis of the twenty-first century
There is an old adage about letting things go; if you deserve them, they’ll come back. It’s been duly satirised. ‘If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and kill it’. To me that’s insightful about the human condition as the original. And the message is simple – … More The most powerful emotion humans have is…
The idea that humans are, in truth, psychotic apes who would brutally smash each other were it not for the thin trappings of culture has long been a sci-fi staple, and with reason. What would happen if, say, culture was suddenly stripped from a group of kids? To William Golding the answer was simple; the … More Are we just psychotic apes, or are we human?
I need to tell you about a cognitive bias that keeps cropping up. It’s a very human thing. And – as a species – we keep tripping over it. What I’m on about is a form of attribution bias, as applied to groups: the supposition that the behaviour or attitudes of a few reflects the … More One bad apple doesn’t spoil the barrel, does it
One of my pet peeves is judgementality – the way people draw a negative response to what they imagine to have happened, on what they superficially see – but without actually checking with the target of their judgement to discover the facts. It’s where the recent craze for ‘shaming’ comes from, among other things – … More Does judgementality annoy you?
I saw something the other day by Neil de Grasse Tyson, explaining that anybody in the sciences who popularises the field is usually not regarded as a ‘serious’ scientist. He explained that even astrophysics – his field – is at best ‘neutral’ in such attitudes. I recall an episode of The Big Bang Theory where … More So when did popularising science make people bad scientists?
I once knew someone who had to prepare the ‘Your Stars’ column for the local newspaper. It was a serious job that had to be got right. The content arrived from an external service (as a lot of newspaper content of this ilk does) but there was only a certain amount of space for the … More I’m a bit cynical about astrology. No really.
It’s funny how every new gadget, however trivial, comes wrapped in the idea that it is the Way Of The Future. The other week it was smart suitcases that text you from the luggage conveyor in airports. That, I admit, has a pretty good chance of taking off. But what about all the other stuff … More Where’s my flying car, then?
One of New Zealand’s biggest internet service providers had an outage the other day. Big-time. Their answer? They posted a message on their website. You know – the internet’s broken, so to tell people they put a notice on the internet. My own dealings with that company were so bad – so execrably awful – … More Why are all ISP’s total rubbish at customer service?
The other week I read a marvellous short story by blogging friend Eric Wicklund, who posts extremely good stories on his blog. His setting involved a US carrier battle group, mysteriously transported to an alternate universe where magic worked. But so did twenty-first century tech, at least while it could be maintained. The story got me … More Rebuilding from the Stone Age is haaaaaaard…