Choice as a barrier to change – from RSA Animate

Just passing this one on, really: it’s one of those lovely RSA Animate illustrated talks, with Prof Renata Saleci’s views on how the proliferation of individual choice keeps us all from asking bigger questions (or at least, from doing anything about the answers). It’s the other side of the coin of personal empowerment – personalContinue reading “Choice as a barrier to change – from RSA Animate”

Creating memories: Jonah Lehrer and faux Monty Python

Jonah Lehrer, whose The Decisive Moment – How The Brain Makes Up Its Mind I’m reading at the moment, has written a really interesting piece in Wired magazine about how we don’t just make things up, we can actually change our memories: Jonah Lehrer – How Social Conformity Affects Memory. There is, in particular, unacknowledgedContinue reading “Creating memories: Jonah Lehrer and faux Monty Python”

Angelic Upstarts: Lynx Turns Boys Into Men

I notice the Lynx Fallen Angel tv ads now have a comedy addendum (see above). What better way to seal the deal with the target audience than some irreverent visual gags with our now familiar fallen angelic lasses? Rule No1 of British popular culture is that where sex goes, comedy must surely follow – titterContinue reading “Angelic Upstarts: Lynx Turns Boys Into Men”

Man of Aran: A Story For Our Times

I started off thinking I’d post on this because it was a thing of beauty, even though it’s not very current – and then I realised, it sort of is current, in a funny kind of way.  (And anyway, why need we always privilege novelty over substance? Shore isn’t the News of the World.) There’sContinue reading “Man of Aran: A Story For Our Times”

Organ Freeman: Thaler on Nudge

Professor Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge, is one of the most sought-after people in the world at the moment. His behavioural economics (BE) snowball is now well down the hill, has taken out some skiiers and is about to roll along the valley, chasing people around like that giant bubble thing from The Prisoner. HisContinue reading “Organ Freeman: Thaler on Nudge”

Ancestry: taboos eroded by science

Branding gets into the tiniest nooks and crannies, doesn’t it? Including our own biology.  For £340 you can buy the “Matriline and Y-Clan DNA Combo” pack from Oxford Ancestry Limited, run by Prof. Brian Sykes of Oxford University (whom you may remember from BBC’s Blood of the Vikings series). You send a DNA sample toContinue reading “Ancestry: taboos eroded by science”

Summer’s Almost Gone

… as Jim Morrison once sang, rather miserably. I’m not in that mournful place yet, but I have been away for what seems like a whole season, physically and mentally (and no, I haven’t been sectioned yet). So, a quick list of the highlights of the summer, in no particular order: Britain has been tornContinue reading “Summer’s Almost Gone”

“Countries” and the UK: who do we think we are?

I was of course thrilled, as an Ulsterman, at Rory McIlroy‘s first major title win last night. Brilliant for what many Northern Ireland football fans call “Our Wee Country”. I’m always amused and intrigued by the semantic fog we disseminate, though, when we refer to parts of the UK as “countries”. It is common usageContinue reading ““Countries” and the UK: who do we think we are?”

Drive-by shoutings

The greatest living pop lyricists, Half Man Half Biscuit, play Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Friday. Yes, they are still going. And like the Fall, some of the recent stuff is among their best. Their last album, CSI: Ambleside, boasted the classics Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess and Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show. TheyContinue reading “Drive-by shoutings”

Stewart Lee’s anti-marketing

Really enjoyed this little snippet – actually a trailer shown before the start of the second series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, but I’ve just seen it. (It’s time-shifted media consumption, you understand, not my being a bit all over the shop). Stewart Lee’s Social Network Marketing. The topical element to this is that theContinue reading “Stewart Lee’s anti-marketing”