Month: January 2010

Haiti is no big deal.

Latest estimates suggest that 200,000 people died in the Haiti earthquake, 7 days ago. The world population increases by 200,000 people in just 1 day. So on the plus side, we’re still up 1,200,000 people in the past week. On the downside, of those newcomers 200,000 will be malnourished 400,000 won’t have access to a ...

Desire influences visual perception

Yeah like we didn’t know that already! Any man in the world will confirm that. But it’s even more quantifiable than you might think. We’re talking about actual distances to objects here. Sexy girls may be further away than they appear. The participants who had been given pretzels to eat during the experiment reported feeling ...

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Hierarchy of needs

I’m reminded by a conversation that I’ve just had that the Hierarchy of Needs is about as succint and powerful and true and psychological models get.

2010: The year we make compost.

It’s probably time for an update on the details. So often the day to day things change and we forget to mention them. Or for various reasons we don’t mention them until they’ve become an ingrained part of our lives, so we forget to relay them as news, and civility / humility / fear of ...

Borders are bad, mmkay

Imagine how different the world would be if we didn’t have geographic allegiance, and just social / ideological allegiance instead. Oh.. wait.. that’s right – that’s how it is. Well.. imagine how different it would be if the geographic borders aligned with the ideological ones. I’ll bet we could have some really really HUGE wars ...

Sell the Vatican, feed the world' most popular infographics of 2009

Free documentaries

Does what it says on the can:

Go out and look at the stars tonight

Middle class virtue

I love this graph. WOT = Well Off, Thoughtful LIL = Low Income Lifestyle Basically it says “Yes, you may recycle and think you’re green and lovely and one of the people who should survive The Great Reckoning, but actually you’re about 3 times more environmentally impactful than that fat TV watching pikey you feel ...

Web of mistrust

China pays 280,000 commentators to skew online conversations. Their activities were described by Chinese President Hu Jintao as “a new pattern of public-opinion guidance”.

What happened to the Biosphere?

This is what happened to the Biosphere. A great metaphor (is it a metaphor if it’s so literal?) of what happens to a neglected Earth.

The Postcode Paper – welcome to your neighbourhood

What a great idea, and fantastic use of liberated data: [The Postcode Paper] gathers information about your area, such as local services, environmental information and crime statistics. It’s a prototype of a service for people moving into a new area. In our exercise we imagined you might receive it after paying your council tax for ...

Quantitive psychology

I’m so glad we live in an age where people are doing large scale psychology studies, trying to discern the facts about our behaviour which our perceptions mask. This has fed into the mainstream thanks to books like Nudge and Freakonomics, and is being used politically to great effect (viz Obama). (There are fears that ...

What do we do now?

I’ve been thinking for a while what we do when Copenhagen fails. And then I waited to see if it actually did. And it did, so no surprise there. But no points for calling it correctly, either. I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to get involved in, and here’s my criteria: It must amplify ...

Act now – or I will