Data retention: an unworkable law devised in bad faith

You should probably know, dear readers, that a journalist information warrant to secure data retention for this website does not exist and is not currently being applied for. This statement may now render me liable to two years in an Australian prison. Sorry to any regular readers who don't like partisan rants. Leave the page now. Normal service … Continue reading Data retention: an unworkable law devised in bad faith

A two-bit theory of social reality

Image via Wikipedia It is not obvious whether the world is analogue or binary, continuous or discrete. It’s a live question and the subject of a recent essay contest set up by the Foundational Questions Institute. That said it seems clear that much or our social lives revolves around the assumption that the world is … Continue reading A two-bit theory of social reality

Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com

Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com. This article by Malcolm Gladwell makes a useful distinction between strong ties activism and weak ties activism. The former was always possible, the latter only really viable with the coming of the social web. Activists with strong ties have real, face to face friends. Online activism has to make … Continue reading Twitter, Facebook, and social activism: newyorker.com

BP Oil Spill – why we care

Behavioural psychologist Dan Ariely’s interesting website has a question about why we seem to care so much about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when we don’t seem to care as much about other big environmental disasters such as the ongoing destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. Some good points are raised, including some fairly obvious … Continue reading BP Oil Spill – why we care

That was the Y2K that wasn’t

  ‘No planes fell from the sky, but a lot happened to keep them from doing so’. http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/y2k/notebook.html   This is a common view of the Y2K bug among software engineers and IT professionals in Anglo-American societies. For them it may be true that their hard work saved civilization from digitally-challenged-date Armageddon, but everywhere else … Continue reading That was the Y2K that wasn’t

What kind of duty is called for in Call of Duty?

Games have several important effects. One is that they train us to accept the premise of the game. If I don’t accept that a knight moves two spaces forwards and one sideways, I simply can’t play chess. If I don’t accept that mass murder is necessary, I simply can’t play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare … Continue reading What kind of duty is called for in Call of Duty?