I went into a coffee shop the other day intending to buy scones – which they make and sell on the premises. The place was filled with techno-elevator music at shattering volume. I asked for the scones. And then the fun began. Music: THOP THOP THOP THOP Counter goon: Worb blurb wob with your coffee?… More The dangers of talking around loud music
It’s Waitangi Day in New Zealand, the 176th anniversary of the day when a treaty was signed at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, between Maori and the British government. It’s widely regarded as modern New Zealand’s founding document. And I figured out a way to make the best hourly rate ever from what the… More The story behind the Treaty of Waitangi
This week’s news in the Astronomical Journal that Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin of CalTech have predicted a ninth planet got the usual barrage of silly media headlines about ‘discovery’. The thing is, Brown and Batygin haven’t found anything. They’ve hypothesised that there’s a planet. And they are not the first to wonder about some… More Planet 9 won’t be as big as Uranus. Really.
So it’s the end of another year. They seem to come around ever faster these days. This year, for various reasons, is one I wouldn’t want to repeat – in our family we’ve called it the ‘year that never stopped giving’, and not in a good way. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice… More A tumultuous year to wrap up
I have always been fascinated by the human ability to make what we imagine seem real. And then to take that reality and imagine something else built on it, and so on. Eventually, we build a ‘reality’ that is built not on physical evidence, but on our chain of imagined concepts – which society picks… More Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate
An elderly woman boarded the train I was riding the other day. The carriage was crowded, but someone immediately gave up his seat for her. Random acts of kindness like this are what should happen in the world. They don’t – not nearly often enough. A lot of the problem, I think, flows from the… More It doesn’t take much to be kind – if we pay attention
The news from Paris has horrified me on so many levels. Part of the horror flows from the way the dark side of human nature has been – once again – starkly revealed by last week’s terror attacks. If we look across the world today – and back through history – that darkness is also evident in many… More Lessons of Paris: how to use kindness to defeat humanity’s dark side