What defines smart? One of my memories from intermediate school, years ago, was the time my class sat a science test. One of the other kids had made it his life’s mission to jeer at me at every opportunity – mindless bully-stuff like ‘you’re an idiot’ by way of greeting – and happened to get … More What defines intelligence?
There was a headline the other week on the Fairfax news site ‘Stuff’ about a southern New Zealand high school that was forbidding children to wear warm headgear – beanies – despite temperatures dropping into the negatives. Based on the report it appeared to me to be simple power assertion. Beanies weren’t in the uniform, … More When power assertion is disguised by the rules…
Have you ever noticed how buzzwords come and go? They must be among the fastest evolving words in English – and with good reason, given that most of them are vacuous attempts to hide one thing by couching it as another. Back in the 1980s the in-word in New Zealand was ‘corporate’, particularly in government … More Buzzword stupidity – part 3,996,843
One of my pet peeves is the way logic is misused in some social media. It happens a lot, as far as I can tell on the subjective evidence of my Facebook feed. The way it works is like this. Somebody comes up with a postulate about something specific, which they then use to ‘disprove’ … More How social media deceives you with fake logic
When I was a kid I was deeply impressed by a music video shot in a snow-bound Montreal Olympic stadium. It was the British super-group ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’, performing their version of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’, which was basically his three-minute piece split by a six-minute solo section of their own. … More Fanfare for the common transistor
This week marks the 73rd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. To me the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 was one of the pivotal points in what Eric Hobsbawm has called the ‘short’ twentieth century – the era from 1914 to 1992 that began with the First World War … More Why we’re so lucky that we won the Second World War
It’s funny how things change. These days allergies are well understood as a genuine medical matter, they can affect anybody, and they can also be fatal if we’re not vigilant. What’s more, allergies seem to be getting more prevalent in western society. That’s totally turned around from when I was a kid. Back then, allergies … More Why are allergies becoming an epidemic?