Intellectual Warehouse

In a recent article, The Memex Method, Cory Doctorow unpacked the notion of making a public database of your commonplace book. The idea is based on Vannevar Bush’s 1945 ‘As We May Think,’ in which Dr. Bush posited the idea of a memory expander: Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and to coin one at random, “memex” will do....

June 4, 2021 · 7 min read · 1467 words

Bitcoin's Dirty Little Secrets: Political

Continuing from my recent essay, Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Environmental, I thought I should give some space to the political dimenion of Bitcoins dirty little secrets. Since the white paper was first published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, the central premise (pun intended) of Bitcoin has been that: A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution....

April 13, 2021 · 5 min read · 862 words

Bitcoin's Dirty Little Secrets: Environmental

It is with no small degree of interest that I have been watching Doug Belshaw’s latest side project unfold, extinction.fyi. I have long been concerned with the negative human impact on our environment and while I am some way off from thinking the world is on fire, it is clear that business as usual is going to leave a decidedly lessened planet for our children. For our children’s children, we may even bequeath an uninhabitable planet....

March 29, 2021 · 4 min read · 793 words

Leadership: A Human Encounter

Thomas Carlyle observed ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men’. In many ways, much business literature about ‘leadership’ only gets as far as Carlyle in its thinking and then rests, sure in the belief leaders are self-made people from whom lessons can be drawn and leadership techniques formalised. A classic example of this is an approach adopted by Howard Gardner in comparing eleven ‘leaders’ with a group of ten political and military leaders to test notions about leadership....

February 18, 2017 · 8 min read · 1566 words

Constantine: Divine Emperor or Christian Saint?

The pulvinar was the consecrated bed, on which the images of the gods reposed. To this bed the early Roman Emperors only repaired in the long sleep of death, conscious of the fate which had befallen their progenitor Julius. Recognition by the Senate as divus was a posthumous honour, termed consecratio, following a good reign. Yet divine status was not a simple all or nothing, god or man situation as a ruler could be linked with aspects of divinity....

November 28, 2014 · 24 min read · 4966 words

Company Men

In Calcutta a statue was erected to Lord Bentinck, Governor-General of India. Its inscription bears citing at length as it is testament to the moral zeitgeist with which the British believed their empire to be infused: [To] William Cavendish Bentinck, who during seven years ruled India with eminent prudence, integrity, and benevolence; who, placed at the head of a great Empire, never laid aside the simplicity and moderation of a private citizen; who infused into Oriental despotism the spirit of British freedom; who never forgot that the end of Government is the happiness of the governed; who abolished cruel rites; who effaced humiliating distinctions; who gave liberty to the expression of public opinion; whose constant study it was to elevate the intellectual and moral character of the nation committed to his charge, [This Monument] Was erected by men who, differing in race, in manners, in language, and in religion, cherish with equal veneration and gratitude the memory of his wise, reforming, and paternal administration....

May 18, 2010 · 15 min read · 3000 words