Saturday, 23 August 2008

Lately ...

... I have been grateful to my small band of loyal blog-readers, who have had very little encouragement from my side. In my defence: as well as doing my job, I took a whole week off work (including three days fully off the grid) for the first time in about a year. Along the way, I managed to watch two very good and very different films that I have been meaning to see for years: United 93 and The Company.

I have also been reading xkcd on Google Maps and teleportation;

two stimulating and accessible articles on why the early appearance of life on earth tells us very little on how “likely” life is, and whether we are alone in the universe: one on priors, and one on conditioning, matters that should forever be labelled “Handle With Care”;

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, in the Guardian back in May, on why it's unkind to 1968-ards to ask “where are they now?”;

and from the New York Times:
how trolls think people should just get over being hurt by words;
why there's merit in putting expert witnesses in a hot-tub;
and Judith Warner, writing against transparency:
For if public figures, purported leaders, “owe” us anything, it’s some kind of role modeling in the sphere of public discourse. They should not feed our basest appetites for dirt. They shouldn’t encourage us in the ugly side of our national quest for the ostensible truth in all things political – that tendency we have, that we hold in common with other spiritual heirs of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to get the whips out and flay alive those who reveal themselves in ways that don’t jibe well with the public mood.