Looking over your shoulder

morning by zoetnet Creative Common licence (CC BY 2.0)

morning by zoetnet Creative Commons licence (CC BY 2.0)

In days gone by, we used to peer over other people’s shoulders on trains and in public spaces to read their newspapers. Flitting headlines would parade before us, grabbing our attention, as history unfolded before our eyes: Continue reading

Adios Air Miles, Hola Avios!

airmilesWe’ve just booked flights to Budapest so we can attend the wedding of an old university friend. The flights cost us nothing, because we paid for them using Avios. What are Avios, you may wonder? They’re a loyalty points system operated by British Airways, and they used to be called Air Miles. Continue reading

Logic gates and neurons

At their most abstract level, the logic gates that make up a digital computer are machines for destroying information. That might not be immediately apparent, but take a look at this (image from Wikipedia):

AND symbol

Two inputs; one output. At every operation, one bit of information is lost forever in an irreversible process. Continue reading

Ethics and Aesthetics

Morality, it is sometimes said, represents the way that people would like the world to work. And Aesthetics could be said to represent the way people would like the world to look.

Ethics and Aesthetics can be grouped together in philosophy under Value Theory, the implication being that the two principles derive from the same fundamental instinct; from the same part of the human mind.

As Wittgenstein put it: “Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.” (Thanks to Michelle Joelle for this.)

Now a moral world where no one suffered would be a beautiful thing for sure, but there’s a strong negative aspect to this correlation between ethics and aesthetics too. Continue reading

Our holiday in Schaerbeek, Brussels

Five years ago we spent a couple of weeks travelling around Belgium and Germany with the kids. It was an exciting family holiday, staying in youth hostels, visiting the picturesque Rhine and Moselle valleys of Germany, and spending a night in the cosmopolitan city of Brussels. Unwittingly, we chose the now notorious Schaerbeek district of Brussels to stay, as it was cheap, convenient for the centre, and we had no idea that it was a hotbed of Islamic terrorism. Continue reading

Click the like button, or don’t

So, Facebook has introduced alternatives to the Like button. They are Love, HaHa, Wow, Sad and Angry.likeloveLike, wow. How sad. That makes me angry, because haha, some of those words are verbs, some are adjectives, and some are exclamations. They don’t go together, Facebook! And anyway, I’m never going to use them, because, well, obviously, you know? Continue reading

Why do we feel sad?

Here I’m not asking what makes you sad. Rather I’m asking, what is the purpose of sadness? Generally speaking, there is an evolutionary reason for all the abilities and faculties that we humans possess. So what is the evolutionary advantage of sadness? Continue reading