Black Mirror: Trailer Trash

Looking forward to the new batch of Charlie Brooker Black Mirror dramas, starting on Channel 4 on Monday 11th Feb. For the unitiated, Brooker’s darkly comedic vision delivers pacy drama, acidly accurate social commentary and dyspeptic belly laughs in equal measure. Bring it on. But regardless of the show, this trailer itself is worth aContinue reading “Black Mirror: Trailer Trash”

Empathy, Outrospection (and Qual): an RSA Animate

Here’s an RSA Animate talk (see http://www.theRSA.org for more) from last year on the importance of empathy. As Krznaric sees it, more widespread practice at empathy – particularly cognitive empathy, where you fully step into another person’s shoes and see things as they see them – could revolutionise how we think about our lives andContinue reading “Empathy, Outrospection (and Qual): an RSA Animate”

Tips from an even better writer than Joey Barton

Start The Week on Radio 4 this morning is about political writing, using George Orwell‘s essay Politics and the English Language as a launchpad: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q8l31. Orwell came up with six practical rules to help people avoid bad writing: Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing inContinue reading “Tips from an even better writer than Joey Barton”

A place where demographics are politics

Expect plenty about N. Ireland identity issues in 2013, as Derry/Londonderry is the new UK City of Culture this year. William Crawley from my neck of the woods has made an interesting programme for Radio 4 on the rise of a specifically Northern Irish identity (vs solely British or solely Irish) in the 2011 census.Continue reading “A place where demographics are politics”

Scrimping on incentives and other false economies

Reading Michael Sandel‘s What Money Can’t Buy – subtitled The Moral Limits of Markets –  has made me reflect on researchers‘ attitudes to the ‘incentives‘, as we call them in the UK, that we pay to research participants. At the risk of now being bombarded by offers of participation in my projects from the entireContinue reading “Scrimping on incentives and other false economies”

Culture on Radio 4; Kulturkampf in Ulster

Melvyn Bragg on the Value of Culture Happy New Year! Caught some of this Melvyn Bragg series yesterday (link above for those in the UK) and today while dragging myself up from hibernatory winter sleep, exploring the history of debates over the last century and a half about ‘culture‘ – what the word means andContinue reading “Culture on Radio 4; Kulturkampf in Ulster”

A Reading List For The Man Who Has Everything But Has A Grating Feeling He Doesn’t

So, at the risk of being embarrassing by trumpeting it myself, it’s my birthday today. No, thank you, really, the pleasure is all mine, you shouldn’t have, etc etc. I’m 43, a father of two school-age kids and run my own business, but my Mum seems to think I’m still 10: she sent me aContinue reading “A Reading List For The Man Who Has Everything But Has A Grating Feeling He Doesn’t”

Kahneman in conversation with Evan Davies and Prof Paul Dolan

Kahneman discusses Thinking Fast And Slow at LSE with Evan Davies and Paul Dolan For those interested in psychology and behavioural economics, here is a quick link via Prof Paul Dolan’s site to an hour’s discussion between Evan Davies, Dolan and Kahneman about Thinking Fast and Slow, which took place a while back when theContinue reading “Kahneman in conversation with Evan Davies and Prof Paul Dolan”

How We Took Control Over Our Stiff Upper Lips

Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper Lip – An Emotional History of Britain I never tire of watching Peter Cook‘s WW2 officer announcing to valiant subordinate Jonathan Miller in Beyond The Fringe: Perkins, I want you to lay down your life. We need a futile gesture at this stage … Miller as Perkins accepts his fate withContinue reading “How We Took Control Over Our Stiff Upper Lips”