I never make ‘New Year Resolutions’ as such – for me, change is a case of steadily moving forward and an arbitrary date isn’t important. Still, New Year gives time to reflect, to contemplate, and to look at directions. And I’ve got a few ideas. I’ve got directions for writing, which will be unveiled – … More Some new year directions for 2018
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
This week the world seemed to be well down the road to hell in a handbasket. There is, I think, no need to recap the events that have been flooding social media and news feeds. If this is the shape of where things are going, I despair for the world. What’s going on? What the … More Is the world is going to hell in a handbasket?
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, and a good deal of research has been done locally to find out why. Recently it appeared that tests run on asthmatics and non-asthmatics show much the same response to specific inflammatory markers, therefore asthma can’t be due to allergy and must … More New Zealand’s asthma rates and immune system problems aren’t ‘psychological’
I spotted some protestors a while back in central Wellington. “Aha,” I said to myself, “the people’s revolution is happening a century too late.” But it wasn’t. It was a group of public servants wanting a pay rise. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the western world was riven by upheaval; the radical … More The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…
I have always been intrigued by the way we elevate specialists. Anybody prominent in one of half a dozen fields that western society exalts is, we are told, somebody to be looked up to, and who are never wrong. That’s particularly true of medical specialists particularly, where – certainly here in New Zealand – their … More When specialists fail – spectacularly
A significant hallmark of an authoritarian government is the way it uses the power of the state to bully people. The spectre was raised a century ago by Franz Kafka, whose unfinished novel The Trial summed up the whole problem. In the story, Kafka’s narrator was arrested and put on trial – all without even … More What Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ tells us about authoritarian bullying
There is a wonderful aphorism credited to Albert Einstein – ‘Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid’. He didn’t necessarily say it, but it’s something he could have said. And it sums up one of … More Failing to escape the tyranny of twentieth century thinking – the junk science of psychology
I posted a while back on the fact that ‘psychology’ isn’t proper science, still less a valid way of understanding the human condition. To me, the problem is summed up by where ‘psychology’ was taken by one of its pioneers, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich, like his teacher Sigsmund Freud, thought everybody was psychologically defective – it was only a matter of degree … More How Wilhelm Reich showed that ‘psychology’ is scientific woo woo
I saw a documentary the other day about Project Orion – which to me underscored just how much times have changed since the 1960s. Owing to a severe attack of geekiness, I already knew quite a bit about the idea, but this added interviews with project scientists such as Freeman Dyson. What was it? On … More Surfing the nuclear blast wave – with science!