Moxie and the Server

But to determine if Moxie’s statement is ‘true’, we don’t need to poll everyone alive or work out how to ask people yet to be born what are their future intentions. Instead, we simply need to understand the category of the statement and from that work out the balance of probability.

January 17, 2022 · 9 min read · 1815 words

Fourth Way — Living in Harmony with our Online Presence

Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book, L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire [The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology], contains a striking wood engraving that depicts a missionary of the Middle Ages who tells that he had ‘found the point where the sky and the Earth touch’. At this intersection, where heaven and earth meet, the missionary is able to pass his head through the sky and glimpse the realm which lies beyond the heavens. Flammarion makes clear the purpose of his imagery:...

September 27, 2021 · 5 min read · 970 words

The Ability To Ignore

I read Doug Belshaw’s article today on Lies and misinformation and it got me to musing on what could be termed the ‘necessary groundwork’ for people to fall prey to lies and misinformation. Namely, the ability to ignore. In a sense, the issue is hard wired into us. Since the earliest days of our evolution on the savanna, our visual and aural senses have been attuned to ignore content. Sights and sounds which don’t represent a clear and present danger to our life can be ignored, to leave space to process that which might kill us....

August 4, 2020 · 4 min read · 785 words

Shape of Things to Come

#onthisday in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered by French soldier Pierre-François Xavier Bouchard during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. It is one of the most important artefacts pertaining to ancient Egypt as it was the key to deciphering hieroglyphs, which has helped humanity unlock lost ancient knowledge. The stone was created in 196 B.C.E. and has three inscriptions of the same decree, which affirmed the royal cult of the 13-year-old king Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation....

July 15, 2020 · 3 min read · 477 words

Scepticism and Wonder

I saw an excellent vlog from Ayishat Akanbi for Double Down News. Ayishat’s message is clear, that ‘We’re living in a culture of fear and as a result freedom of speech is under threat’: This video reminded me of the late great Carl Sagan, who was prescient in understanding the need to deal with people who disagree, even attack, us for our beliefs. Though his writing focused on superstitions and pseudosciences, his thinking is largely applicable to all forms of bigotry and ignorance in pursuit of a cause....

July 10, 2020 · 4 min read · 844 words

The Problem of Over Correction

I have been thinking on the myriad problems of several current movements (mostly the failures of logic being used by the adherents). Though it will take more research and thought before I am willing to publish something meaningful, I came across a kernel today which succinctly addresses one of the key problems: Many years ago I was introduced to one of the most helpful rules of logic: to never say or write anything the opposite of which would only be uttered by a madman....

June 19, 2020 · 2 min read · 251 words

The Over Consumption of Doubt

Though the works of René Descartes are seldom read, his phrase ‘cogito, ergo sum’ has entered popular culture to the extent it is known even beyond those with little Latin and less Greek. Part of the reason for this is that Descartes was attuned to the realisation that Latin had a more limited audience than the vernacular and originally published his sentiment in French: ‘je pense, donc je suis’. But be it Latin, French or the current lingua franca of English, ‘I think, therefore I am’ has achieved something akin to universal understanding....

June 16, 2020 · 3 min read · 526 words

Media Archipelago

If [journalists] have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? It hardly ever happens because it would damage sales. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Solzhenitsyn, a long standing critic of he Soviet Union and communism, knew much about the use and abuse of public opinion....

June 10, 2020 · 4 min read · 689 words

The Perfect Moment

Yesterday I stood in my kitchen and an archetypal piece of pop culture, a t-shirt print, called forth a voice from the past. In another time and another place, another man stood and mused far more lyrically on a classical piece of culture. Rendering into language the perfect moment. My memory called forth what Edmund Burke termed the sublime: a sense of awe mingled with pain. The imagination of John Keats bodied forth beauty mixed with hope....

May 7, 2020 · 2 min read · 314 words

'Oh, the humanity!'

As I stirred the mince, a t-shirt on the television grabbed my attention. ‘6 May 1937’ was superimposed over an airship. Reflexively I recalled Herbert Morrison’s voice crying out with anguish: ‘Oh, the humanity’. As my conscious thinking caught up, a newsreel flickered into life in my minds eye and I felt myself transported to an airfield in New Jersey as an airship burned. More often than not, it is a sound or a smell which pulls us from our present to a past so consuming, the world as we experience it seems to fade to black....

May 6, 2020 · 2 min read · 336 words