Opinion / Technology, Innovation, the Future

Building Peace in Bosnia

Right. Here is a major contribution by me to the oral history of the modern Balkans, in the form of a discussion with Susan Coleman of The Peace Building Podcast. Susan and I met when we did some training workshops for senior Afghan women in Tajikistan last year. Susan is […]

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Russia: The Cost of Ukraine

One of the best ways to spend a dreary UK summer is to play with the World Bank graphs on Google to mix ‘n’ match different countries’ economic performance. Just click on a category and then compare/contrast the results for different countries. This (for example) gives some sense of the cost […]

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Public Speaking: How Fast to Speak?

+++ UPDATE +++ James Spencer VoiceCoach who knows more than a thing or two about public speaking writes to me about the piece below: This is one of the best critiques of quantifying communication that I’ve come across in the vast flotsam of internet public speaking commentary. You also address, specifically, […]

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Orai + Crawford

My guilty secret is out, thanks to the Guardian: “When we started, we didn’t know about linguistics and speech science. So we spent six or seven months behind closed doors just reading about this,” Gupta says. The AI algorithm has been modelled on data collected from 3,000 publicly available speeches, […]

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That Trump Speech in Poland

What was President Trump’s speech in Poland really saying? Views differ. Even though anyone listening to the speech might think that Trump pushed back hard against Putin in the speech, it was a stunning victory for Putin: The initial reaction to the speech was far more positive than to his previous attempt […]

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Diplomacy and North Korea

I’ve been busy latterly. Hence this article over at Telegraph Premium (££) on North Korea and its missiles. Maybe you’re too mean or too poor to pay for that? Here are some highlights: Pyongyang has one Great Demand: achieving global acknowledgement/status. Since 2003 when it left the Non-Proliferation Treaty framework […]

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Faux-Diplomacy (2)

My post below on the proliferation of useless ‘diplomacies’ prompts Shaun Riordan into further action: … Simply asking what diplomats do, and then assigning the title of diplomat to anyone else doing it (or describing as “diplomacy” anything where people are doing diplomat-like things) won’t wash. Many people gather information, […]

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Grenfell Towers? Meet Venezuela

Suitably anonymous @_BossGoose opines on Twitter re my previous posting on causation, responsibility and the Grenfell Towers catastrophe: Boss Goose‏ Is your suggested course of action basically “some of us will live through (nearly) any disaster, so, fuck it, let the market decide”? S/he goes further: Boss Goose‏ This may be […]

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Grenfell Tower – What Caused What?

The Grenfell Tower fire was a horrendous … what exactly? Accident? An ‘accident waiting to happen’? A ‘result of (gross) negligence’? A ‘consequence of austerity’? A ‘failure of capitalism’? The state doesn’t CARE: The stories are unbearable: the people screaming at the windows, the parents throwing their children from several floors […]

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Democracy and Technology

As well as the usual UK post-election party political wailing or gloating and general spinning, deeper things are going on. Here’s my theory. Namely that technology is making democratic government itself harder and harder. Eventually impossible? Think about it. Information technology in its current galloping form erodes categories, everywhere and […]

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