Humanity’s earliest ancestor was dug up a while ago. Well, when I say ‘our’ ancestor, it’s also the ancestor of fish, amphibians, reptiles and starfish among other things. It’s 540 million years old, it’s called Saccorhytus coronarius, and it’s a primitive deuterosome, a type is thought to be one of the earliest common ancestors of quite … More Our earliest ever ancestor had a big mouth and spewed – er –
When I was at primary school in Napier, New Zealand, all the kids – including me – were terrified of a particular teacher, the ‘go to’ disciplinarian who was invoked when other teachers wanted a kid especially punished. This bellowing drill-sergeant of a teacher demanded total submission to his power, even down to punishing kids … More How authoritarian bullies get away with it
When I was looking around for a new car a couple of years ago I made the difficult decision to go with an automatic. To me, autos aren’t proper cars, and they don’t require proper driving, especially with cruise control. You don’t drive them, you sit and ride in them while steering a bit. Mind … More Is driving an auto real driving?
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?
It looks like Sir Peter Jackson’s movie museum is going to go ahead in central Wellington. Possibly including the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ car built by Alan Mann for the 1968 movie of the same name, which Jackson owns. When I was a kid, my sister had the Dinky toy version of that car. Jackson, … More The story of the REAL Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
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