Opinion / Philosophy

COVID-19 Unmasked

How to tell if the state compelling us to walk around wearing moist unhygienic masks looking like muzzled dogs makes a scrap of difference in ‘fighting’ (sic) COVID-19? Here’s a study (via a piece posted by Robert Zimmerman) that had unusually controlled conditions (US marines). His piece suggests that masks […]

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Censored by Twitter

My first post here in a while. We’re planning to move house after some 13 years here, and then it was busy again and the weeks flit by. Have you heard of Benford’s Law? Me neither. It turns out that it’s a way of exploring ‘unfabricated’ numbers. The gist of […]

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Passive Aggression, Full Stop

OMG whatever next snowflake teenagers are being triggered by FULL STOPS. Say (who else?) linguists: The debate was reignited after writer Rhiannon Cosslett tweeted: ‘Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an […]

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Hungary v Brussels

Veteran readers here (if any such still exist) will recall my Basic Theory Of Explaining Almost Everything, namely that for any issue only two questions matter: Who decides? Who decides who decides? See eg this DIPLOMAT article looking at Bosnia, Brexit, migration, UN Security Council reform and other big topics […]

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Poland Presidential Elections

Poland is about to have a second-round run-off in an important Presidential election. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda of Law and Justice is in a tight race with Rafał Trzaskowski (Civic Platform) the Mayor of Warsaw. This is typically presented by the chatterati as quite a civilisational battle: nasty reactionary xenophobic […]

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Dead Cats Matter

This piece was first posted at the now defunct US website PunditWire. I had a lot of good stuff there, now lost to civilisation. So I’ll repost updated versions of some of my pieces here, to let them linger on the Internet a while longer. This one on ‘framing’ is […]

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Chess and Sportsmanship

Remember this one from 2011 on India’s cricketing sportsmanship? The amazing thing here was that at this point of the match, Bell was crushing the Indian bowling and had turned the whole match strongly in England’s favour. So to allow him to continue when the Indians could easily have said […]

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#COVID19 – Endless Lockdown Madness

Back in April as the #lockdown began to bite I wrote about measuring: … What’s the baseline  test in such cases for measuring what categories exist and how our language and practice and laws deal with them? What claims make sense? And so to #COVID19. Might the current lockdown and generalised […]

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#COVID19: Measuring Measurement

So, there I was all set to plunge into the fray at TEDxNCHLondon to opine on the broad if oddly titled subject of Activism in the Modern Day when the event was postponed for COVID19 reasons. I even had my snazzy PowerPoint more or less ready: Wait! How long is a metre? What […]

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History and Diplomacy

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at history: … After you’ve made your weary way around planet earth for some six decades, you start to grasp that beneath the torrent of events, there lie deep trends and rhythms. Take, for example, those YouTube videos of the changing map of Europe. […]

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