We all have those moments in life when something clicks and we have that awakening or idea or BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). Usually it is examined briefly then tossed over our shoulder as we rush on. Not for me. This blog is about capturing those moments, writing them down, sharing them.

the musicians in my head

Did it ever occur to you how remarkable it is that your brain so readily accepts the illusion that a group of musicians are performing inside your skull when you wear earphones?

The productivity drag of irrational thinking

I wonder what the productivity drag of creationism, New Age theories, chemical and radiation hysteria, and other anti-science is, measured in GDP percentage points.

Especially in the USA, the epicentre of air-head ideas. These morons are costing us prosperity.

A friend proposed Isaac Newton as a counter-example:

Do you subscribe to the theory that Isaac Newton could have been even more successful if he hadn't spent most of his time obsessed with alchemy and the occult?

the rights of the individual versus the greater good

OH online: "The real beauty in life is the obligations, not the freedoms." I think it's in the middle there somewhere.

I admire the Asian prioritisation of the group over the individual, in contrast to whiney Western self-indulgent entitlement. With every generation we shift further into selfishness in the name of "freedom" and especially "rights".
On the other hand "obligations" smacks of that Protestant work ethic so beloved in the USA which veers dangerously close to paid slavery.

The CO2 and temperature hysteria

"CO2 at all-time high in human history"?

"Human history" is a tiny blip in the history of the earth. CO2 levels are in fact at historic LOWS

You'll find this more objective data in a number of places.
Image

We are currently at 400 ppm. The all-time record was 7500 ppm, and the level has been higher than now for almost all of the planet's history. (Also note the lack of correlation between temperature and CO2)

The domestic solar energy industry is a con.

Yes, domestic solar is a con perpetrated against the consumer and the taxpayer by its vendor industry, whcih only survives on subsidies and deluded idealism.

I saw it on a screen; it must be true

In the street-wise 21st century the IT Skeptic hoped that people would be sceptical of anything a computer produces but it isn’t true. Put something on a screen and it gains instant credibility. It must be the backlighting.

Core Practice: focused excellence as a differentiator

A leading cultural assumption in the business world is that anything we do should be benchmarked against world’s best practice. But why pay for gold when copper will do? Rob England says don’t aim for best when there is no business driver to do so.

Organisations are wasting resource and damaging themselves unnecessarily chasing a “best” standard for everything. Save “best” for focused areas where it counts. Organisations that do this will gain an efficiency edge over those who chase it everywhere.

When will technology make life simpler?

The technology world has gone mad, as techno-freaks are allowed to design user interfaces that nobody wants and nobody can use. The IT Skeptic wants a DVD that plays movies, a stereo that plays songs, a phone that makes phone calls, a screen that surfs, and a TV for watching.

Remember when a phone had a dial on the front with numbers, a TV had a volume knob and a dial with channels on it, and a record player had two controls: volume and speed? Now:
• I have six remote controls on the TV room table, with more buttons than a 747

The Folly of the Crowd

There is much excitement about the potential for Web 2.0, in particular what is known as the Wisdom of the Crowd. Wikipedia becomes the repository of all knowledge, Google search statistics are the zeitgeist of the times and MySpace is the face of the world. Page rank is a measure of authority. Corporations appeal to the public for solutions to problems. The ivory tower is replaced by the democracy of the commons; the proclamations of the cathedral displaced by the hubbub of the bazaar. Not so fast.

How I downshifted

Here are some tips on how to make today’s popular life-style change: the downshift, from one who has already gone there.

Once I worked 50-60 hour weeks for an IT vendor. I spent weekends traveling; I spent 50 or even 100 nights per year away from home; and missed a fair chunk of my son’s first four years. My aspirations changed as I got older and had family, and the company changed too. It had ceased to be fun. At times it got downright Dilbertesque.

What matters

When one spends 50 or 60 hours a week immersed in an activity (does anyone reading this still work 40 hours or less?), it is easy to lose one’s perspective on just where that activity should rate in our lives.

Internet, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life

The world is full of those chasing fame and fortune on the internet. The glittering lures of e-commerce, Adsense and cult-hero-dom draw them from far and wide, looking for easy money, good hours and groupies. It is not like that.

Driving men out of schools

My son is twelve years old. This is the first year in his educational life - starting from age 4 - that he has had a male teacher, and it is only for about 1 hr a day. When I look back at my education and count the inspirational teachers, the great majority of them were men. Boys need male influence at school.

I think there are three factors at work here:
- teaching is treated and paid as a menial task, and women still predominate in such roles
- the radical feminism of education administration - at least in NZ. I'd go so far as to call them anti-male.

Falling child mortality

The Economist is one our the few papers to report genuinely good news, such as the fact that child mortality is falling rapidly.

Ban carbon-14 in food

Why doesn't the government ban foods containing radioactive carbon-14?

Fact: Carbon-14 (a.k.a. "radiocarbon") accumulates in the human body and releases damaging radiation.

Fact: Carbon-14 causes millions of cancers

Fact: Carbon-14 has a half-life of over 5700 years!!

Fact: Carbon-14 is more radio-active than Uranium

Why is nobody doing anything about it?

In fact their are signs of a government conspiracy about this. Why does the US Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms require a MINIMUM level of radiocarbon in alcoholic drinks?

Why we won't see solar-powered cars

It is a simple fact of physics: the sun drops about 1kW of energy on 1 sq m of Earth.

the most politically important 4 minutes of video ever made

This must be one of the most politically important 4 minutes of video ever made, surpassing anything Bronowski did

Orders of magnitude

Never in human history have we seen another time when a technology increased it's price-performance by six or eight orders of magnitude within a lifetime. For that technology to be a technology of the intellect is doubly marvelous. Forget the Gutenberg press. Forget parchment. Forget the invention of language. Nothing, but nothing, has ever ever changed within one lifetime how we think and experience the way that digital technology has. Ever. This is a first. And you are alive to see it.

Rainbow Warrior - this Kiwi will never forget

In 1985 the elected French government was exploding nuclear devices in the Pacific on the other side of the planet from France, despite concerted and strident objections from the surrounding nations that had to live with the fallout. They persisted in this practice from 1966 to 1996. This was not a major political issue for the government with their electorate in France.

(Note the Yanks did it too until 1966, and the Brits used the Australian desert)

Happiness

I was asked how I define and achieve happiness.

Stability. I work harder on my family than anything else in my life: on my marriage and my relationship with my son.

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