The idea of a political spectrum defined by ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing views has been around ever since September 1789, when they were invented. The revolutionaries had set up a National Assembly – meeting initially in a tennis court – which they declared indissoluble until they had resolved their issues with the King Louis XVI. … More What do we mean by ‘left’ and ‘right’?
I was deeply impressed by last week’s climate change rally – I was in central Wellington, New Zealand, when the local march came past. It was not just for kids; people of all ages were there. And it pointed up the fact that what’s happening today will impact the next generation. And the one after … More What legacy will neo-liberal greed and climate change leave for our kids?
This year there’s a new kid on the block in internet land. Solid. It’s a project devised at MIT by Sir Tim Berner-Lee – yes, THAT Sir Tim Berners-Lee – to enable web users to use the web safely and not have their data appropriated. The web never developed the way Lee envisaged when he … More How the world wide web reveals true human nature
A little while ago I heard a story about someone who’d built up an online craft business, largely through social media. The person booked a holiday to a distant destination and, online, described their pleasure at looking forward to visiting what to them was an ‘exotic’ location. That, it seemed, drew the ire of somebody … More Are lynching mobs a general human thing?
It would be nice to say that we always exaggerate our fears of pending Armageddon. The idea of imminent doom is a common thread across human societies through time. It appears to be hard-wired into us; and often it’s an over-blown fear. Right now, the world is entering an unprecedented era of human-driven climate change … More Armageddon by nuclear winter – it’s still a thing
I’ve been getting the disturbing impression of late that the default human position isn’t generosity and kindness; it’s selfish malice. I’ve blogged about this before, but it won’t go away. Life, it seems, is a zero-sum game in which all that counts is self, and the way to get ahead is to break somebody else. … More What ever happened to all the good in the world?
Back when I was a kid at intermediate school (‘junior high’ in US parlance) there was an incident involving a trestle table at the back of the class, on which had been placed a lot of craft works. Adjacent to the trestle was a large cupboard in which all the coats and bags were stored, … More The dangers of being a good Samaritan when society is dysfunctional
I was absolutely horrified the other week to see a news report from India about a fatal scooter accident. Instead of helping, bystanders took selfies in front of the dying victims. Nobody even assisted them for half an hour. That sort of behaviour is utterly repugnant. In New Zealand, where I am, it is also … More Which moral pit is the world falling into?
A while back a downtown Auckland tower-block was evacuated after the occupants fell ill with what was first thought to be gas from the air conditioning. It wasn’t. But a dozen people were hospitalised. That evening, more people fell ill and the building was closed. Before a formal investigation reported on the problem, a university … More Why the term ‘it’s psychological’ doesn’t cut it as a real medical diagnosis
I am intrigued by ‘disclaimers’ at the bottom of some You Tube videos, insisting ‘no copyright infringement intended’ and that copyright ‘remains with the holder’. Such statements reveal a profound ignorance of what copyright is – and how it’s breached. I’ve done quite a bit of professional work in this field, though what I’m about … More All about copyright and why You Tube disclaimers are wrong
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