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?
Hot on the heels of the court ruling that a descending minor-scale motif in Katy Perry’s song ‘Dark Horse’ infringed a descending minor-scale motif in somebody else’s, comes news of another threatened lawsuit, this time involving Lady Gaga’s song ‘Shallow’. Allegedly this ripped off a three-note progression from a song by an unknown artist whose … More And the musical litigation continues
I’ve been a bit puzzled by the copyright suit that ended the other week in the US. According to the news reports, pop-star Katy Perry’s 2013 hit ‘Dark Horse’ copied a 2008 song featuring Christian rapper Flame, ‘Joyful Noise’. After a four-year court battle, a jury agreed and Perry, her co-authors and her label were … More Katy Perry, Flame and the magic four-chord progression
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?
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 story caught my eye a while back about a university student who’d just graduated, despite being written off at school as worthless and ridiculed by university lecturers for misspelling. It turned out the student had dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, which sounds like a nightmare combination. In fact, all are manifestations of one basic issue: … More Why dyslexics get written off by teachers
I was reminded the other day of a wonderful 1948 story I read as a kid, ‘In Hiding’, by Wilmar Shiras (1908-1990). I read it in a 1960s-era anthology of sci-fi stories, and it left a huge impression on me. Shiras wrote it, apparently, for her children. And the plot was straight forward: a school … More What makes people smart?