Katy Brand, John Gray and the folly of pinning all our hopes on science

Here’s a quote and a half – from the brilliant Straw Dogs by John Gray (Professor of European Thought at LSE), written ten years ago now: Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this isContinue reading “Katy Brand, John Gray and the folly of pinning all our hopes on science”

Capello: single-minded success, social awareness failure

  So Capello walks from the FA, in a serendipitous sequence of events in which Our ‘Arry, until a few hours earlier about to get banged up good and proper, rises majestically to become the people’s favourite to manage England to a glorious footballing summer expedition to the lands between the Baltic and Black Sea.Continue reading “Capello: single-minded success, social awareness failure”

Public image limited – and metrosexuals’ kindly uncles

Stuffed like a museum coypu with fieldwork last month, January was a vintage period for methodological learnings for me: new experiences and new twists on familiar ones in front of the Great British Public. Unlike the coypu, I’ll be living off the experiences for a while. The first one to muse on is this: howContinue reading “Public image limited – and metrosexuals’ kindly uncles”

Boiling it down should make you sweat

Diane Abbott‘s twitter controversy last week was something of a storm in a teacup (white or black tea, it certainly could have done with some more sweetener in it). But what interested me was her defence: that it was hard to capture the context – discourses about the legacy of colonialist thinking – in 140Continue reading “Boiling it down should make you sweat”

How (Not) To Party: the bizarre ending to last night’s Andrew Neil show

If you want to laugh at people who have held some of the highest offices of state, dancing to Underworld’s Born Slippy, read and view on … Picture the scene: you’ve just come home from moderating a discussion group across in Peterborough, you’re a bit tired and you flop down to watch the end ofContinue reading “How (Not) To Party: the bizarre ending to last night’s Andrew Neil show”

How you can visualise data with an MIT research budget – wow

If you can stop him talking about his kids, he can be quite interesting. Thanks to Dutch social media expert Jaap den Dulk (twitter: @dulk) for the link to this talk from MIT Media Lab researcher Deb Roy earlier in 2011. Jaap gave a talk this morning as part of the ICG webinar on socialContinue reading “How you can visualise data with an MIT research budget – wow”

Britney Spears: harder to stalk than I had imagined

This might bring a whole new audience to Strangers On The Shore and (another) one that will be bitterly disappointed. I went into t’ Smoke yesterday for a meeting on AQR ambassadorial business and had a spare half hour afterwards before my schlepp back to Jericho (in Oxford, not the West Bank). So I poppedContinue reading “Britney Spears: harder to stalk than I had imagined”

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)

  One of my favourite song titles (from Half Man Half Biscuit‘s Cammell Laird Social Club album) seems appropriate today, given the economic news. As an individual micro-business, the bigger patterns of the economy kind of don’t matter – and kind of do. It can be hard to make the connection sometimes. At one level,Continue reading “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)”

Highlight of the week: Soviet-era posters on the dangers of alcohol, in Creative Review

I’ve been a sucker for Soviet-era Russian posters ever since seeing a Stenberg Brothers exhibition of Russian film posters in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1998. Imagine my delight then this week when Creative Review tweeted (@CreativeReview) a series of public information posters mainly from the 30s, 40s and 50s on the perils of boozeContinue reading “Highlight of the week: Soviet-era posters on the dangers of alcohol, in Creative Review”

Hewlett Packard: Stick to Plan A for Plan B

I enjoyed Drum’s ad for Hewlett Packard, featuring Plan B doing She Said, which I caught a couple of weeks ago before the Tintin film: It’s a 21st Century truism that for every artefact created, there must be a “the making of” film (because we can’t handle anyone being behind the scenes any more). EvenContinue reading “Hewlett Packard: Stick to Plan A for Plan B”