It occurred to me that there’s a benefit to the Covid lockdowns, relentless sanitising and masking precautions that nobody much talks about. Yes, these help protect populations against Covid spread. But they also help protect against every disease. Certainly in New Zealand, it seems that rates of seasonal flu, colds and so forth are well … More The science of masks and sanitising
I realised the other day that my life would make perfect sense if I first assumed that some malevolent entity was trying to destroy me in the slowest and most painful way possible, raising obstacle after obstacle over the smallest things I try to do, ensuring luck never goes my way, and – if I … More Conspiracy theories and how they relate to medieval butt trumpets
I watched a documentary by Noam Chomsky the other day – Requiem to the American Dream. It was thought-provoking. I remember him being invoked as a world intellectual back when I was studying anthropology – Chomsky was a linguist – and he has to be one of the most thoughtful people around today. Not everybody … More Noam Chomsky and the American dream
It’s 76 years this month since the end of the Second World War in Europe – just over three-quarters of a century since the end of the effort by the world’s democracies to survive against a rising tide of totalitarianism. The fall of Nazi Germany ended the fascist side of that totalitarian system and enabled … More Remembering the importance of democracy
I watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ a few days ago, the Netflix semi-dramatised documentary exposing the business model behind social media, and what it’s doing to world society. I wasn’t surprised; the social outcomes have been clear for a while. The ‘confirmation bubbles’ to which social media reduces people are a function of the way in … More The social media dilemma and its consequences
It’s fair to say that 2020 has been the worst year in living memory. The world has, in the span of just a few months, been plunged into one of the most widespread and severe crises since the Second World War. Even the Cuba Crisis of 1962, with all its implication of nuclear armageddon, was … More How to understand 2020 – the worst year in living memory
Back when I was working in a corporate communications office the buzz-word was ‘outsourcing’. Anything other than ‘core business’ (which was never fully defined) could be dispensed with in favour of ‘service providers’. That didn’t mean the work went away, but this ‘rightsizing’ did mean that everybody’s job was suddenly under threat, as loyal and … More When outsourcing goes bad – a cautionary tale
This week governments around the world have suddenly unleashed the fiscal faucets and begun pouring money into their economies. The idea is that this will, at least in part, offset the crushing economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and – if targeted properly – will help those in need. This surely must be why we … More Covid-19 and the economic rescue packages
I am beginning to wonder whether the real nature of humanity is not care or nurture, but psychotic violence. It’s not just the relentless streams of the latter that flow past me in the news. It’s something I discovered directly, the other week. I was in my home town of Napier, taking a photo of … More Are humans really just violent, psychotic apes?
The year 2020 is upon us. It seems incredible that it’s 20 years since the turn of the millennium – a socially-defined key date in western society where the predominant beliefs were always millenarian, although we have to accept that a ‘millennium’ was sometimes figured to be other than a thousand years, hence the social … More Is 2020 the future of the future?