It is 104 years since the First War began, this month – and a century, this year, since it ended. The nations involved in it had all variously been involved in longer wars before. And the main combatants fought a longer war later: the Second World War, which pitted the same major nations against each … More Echoes of the guns of August – why we remember the First World War so poignantly
I was intrigued by some research I spotted recently which seems to prove that the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword. Well, it’s mightier than the spoken word, anyway. The research suggested that there’s a specific reason why arguments on Facebook so often degenerate to slagging matches. It’s the same issue lawyers run into … More Perhaps the pen is mightier than the voice
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?
I cannot but lament the moral void into which the world seems to be falling. Political intrigue. Weaponised social media. A new definition of ‘facts’ based not on empirical reality but on personal need. And it shows. I think everyday behaviour’s deteriorating, likely worldwide – and certainly around me. I worry about a loss of … More Lamenting the moral void into which society has fallen
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
There was an incident the other week, here in New Zealand, in which a supermarket customer was reportedly pulled aside by staff and questioned on allegation of prior shoplifting. It turns out the guy was wrongly accused. Apparently the supermarket used surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, and reportedly mis-identified the customer. Yet curiously, when … More Remember, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear