Why we have to call out intolerance and hatred

I’ve seen suggestions of late that we shouldn’t call today’s intolerant authoritarians ‘Nazis’, because the word is specific to the political party that came to power in Germany in 1933. Actually, I think ‘Nazi’ is great term to describe such behaviour. Why? Because the underlying forces involved are the same. The crimes against humanity perpetrated … More Why we have to call out intolerance and hatred

How GPS finds you and lets Google send you adverts

If both Special and General Relativity didn’t work precisely as Einstein said it did, GPS would be far less accurate than it actually is. Like, way off, meaning those auto-drive cars wouldn’t even get to the right road. Or any road. And we’d all be lost. Let me explain. GPS works by very precise distance … More How GPS finds you and lets Google send you adverts

When power assertion is disguised by the rules…

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…

Remember, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear

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

I want to trademark all the vowels except ‘u’

Apparently a small storm’s brewed in the US over an author who, according to the Guardian, trademarked the word ‘cocky’ and has approached other authors to remove it from their book titles. According to the OED the word means ‘conceited or confident in a bold and cheeky way’, though I can think of a few … More I want to trademark all the vowels except ‘u’

Einstein’s warning – and why even a small nuclear war could destroy humanity

Albert Einstein once explained that nuclear weapons changed everything – except the way we think. He was right, of course. That worries me. There’s been a lot of talk about rogue-state nuclear weapons of late. A war using such appalling devices seems a real possibility – more so than during the dark days of the … More Einstein’s warning – and why even a small nuclear war could destroy humanity

Why is the weather going mad? Humanity’s ongoing stupidity, that’s why

The hurricanes of the past few weeks that have devastated the Carribean and parts of the United States have been record-setters. The human cost is huge, and our first thoughts must be to the victims and their families. Unfortunately it’s the likely shape of where things are going, worldwide. New Zealand’s been unusually warm and … More Why is the weather going mad? Humanity’s ongoing stupidity, that’s why