March 21, 2009

Quote of the day: Congressman Mike Honda

Posted in Ideas, Society at 18:49 by graham

Congressman Mike Honda, D-San Jose, writing about opening government databases:

Instead of databases becoming available as a result of Freedom Of Information Act requests, government officials should be required to justify why any public data should not be freely available to the taxpayers who paid for its creation.

Wow, what an exciting time to be in North America.

From the O’Reilly Radar.

November 12, 2008

Dan Gardner on fear

Posted in Behaviour, Society at 06:35 by graham

In the prologue to The Science of Fear, by Daniel Gardner (published as ‘Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear’ in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada), which I have just started reading, as he talks about the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States:

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November 11, 2008

Plebis.Net. Speak your mind.

Posted in Society, Software at 02:34 by graham

I have just launched It’s a wall on the Internet you can write on, for all to see.

You can write anything you want. There’s no censor and nothing is recorded, so feel free to scream shout and wail. Tell the world how you feel. Get it off your chest. Go on, it’s good for you. Head over to, and say something!

May 20, 2008

A quote from Seth Godin

Posted in Society, Software at 06:55 by graham

It’s hard for me to see why you’d bother having someone come all the way to an office just to sit in a cube and type. The new rule seems to be that if you’re going to spend the time and the money to see someone face to face, be in their face. Interact or stay home!

My thoughts entirely.

Original post: Seth Godin – The new standard for meetings and conferences

May 2, 2008

Clay Shirky at Web 2.0 Expo – just watch it

Posted in Behaviour, History, Society at 20:23 by graham

If you really don’t want to watch it, read the transcript of Clay Shirky’s talk at Web2.0 Expo.

February 12, 2008

The fine line between populism and racism

Posted in Society at 02:16 by graham

As you probably know, the U.S.A. is electing itself a new president. The process is that each of the two parties elects their candidate, then they compete against each other. The four remaining Republicans vying for their parties nomination recently participated in a debate here in California. Here is the transcript of the Republican debate of January 30th 2008. It’s mostly standard political fare, until you get to the topic of immigration. Then, well, see for yourself:

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April 4, 2007

What really kills people like you ?

Posted in Society at 11:09 by graham

Update 2018: The excellent Our World In Data has a Causes Of Death section.

Do you remember how we were all going to die of Ebola, then S.A.R.S., and more recently Avian flu ?

Have you got the memo that the job creation program at airports is because Terrorism is such a big threat to your life ? In England at the moment you are, according to the media, at great threat from drug dealing teenagers, and anyone younger than you in general.

And yet, here you are, reading safely. So instead of tolerating idiots pretending to be journalists, I went looking for what we should really be wary of – what really does kill people.

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February 25, 2007

BarCampLondon2 wrapup

Posted in Society, Software at 14:05 by graham

Last weekend I attended BarCampLondon2. Bar Camp is an unconference, where a group of like minded people get together, everyone presents a topic / session, and we all hang out and discuss things. On the morning of the first day you write your topic on a card and stick it on a board where times and rooms are layed out in a grid.

The most interesting sessions for me were the following:

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January 7, 2007

A week in the woods

Posted in Misc, Society at 14:42 by graham

From the 9th to the 15th May 2004, I went on the Fundamental Bushcraft course with the Ray Mears School of Bushcraft, in the Kent countryside. Here’s what happened:

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November 7, 2006

Factual entertainment

Posted in Society at 22:34 by graham

Most journalists, I assume, aspire to delivering the truth on what is really going on to the reading public. They want to write serious, factual, possibly investigative, often opinionated, pieces. Only a small percentage of journalists, a small percentage of the time, get to do this. The rest, the vast majority, end up in the entertainment business, and live in denial.

They cannot simply fill their media with invention and humour in order to entertain; they must allow the paying public to believe they are consuming serious, factual journalism. It is this complicity of denial between journalist and consumer that has filled our media with celebrity lives and gruesome stories. The journalist is reporting facts and the consumer is entertained by the voyeurism and horror. They will not admit to being entertained lest they be thought deranged or perverse. And the cycle continues, burrowing ever deeper in search of the salacious and disturbing to fill yet more serious, factual media.

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