On the Net

Things I’ve read online of interest and value:

“Honestly, I think I would know if there were aliens”

It’s a long time since I’ve read anything interesting about UFOs, but this article for NBC by Rizwan Virk, founder of Play Labs at MIT, seems to indicate that – while the area of ufology is generally mocked by scientists and big tech – there’s obviously something significant happening. Virk...

Denial and Delusion of the Thatcher Years

As someone who grew up in Thatcher’s Britain, it’s hard not to see the parallels between how fragmented and bleak things seem now and how it was back then. I’m not the only one. Very good piece by Guardian columnist John Harris who notes how the visible decline of Britain...

Popular Opinion

Frightening – and yet unsurprising – report explaining how Facebook is used by politicians to unduly influence public opinion through the creation of incredible numbers of fake comments and likes from a tiny number of users. The report is based around an interview with Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist...

Hauntology Defined

An excellent definition of hauntology by the A Year in the Country site. “This is an area of culture where the use, appreciation and romance of often older electronic music technologies, reference points and inspirations segues and intertwines with the more bucolic wanderings and landscapes of exploratory, otherly pastoralism and...

Johnson’s Kulturkampf

Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu’s How Myths of Britishness Are Turning Totalitarian shows how culture is currently weaponised in the UK to enable a right-wing government that engenders a condition of disillusionment and delusion leading to the sort if paranoia seen in the US. Jukes and Matharu view this as...

The Rise and Rise of Creativity

Utterly fascinating piece by Steven Shapin, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, exploring the way in which creativity entered modern discourse. It’s quite shocking to learn that creativity was barely mentioned before the 1920s and that its adoption as a defining human characteristic can be traced back...

The Hatred of Video Games is Simply Suspicion of Youth

Rather neat, germane piece by Ian Dunt about the way in which video games are stigmatised: Why should video games be seen as particularly addictive, compared to watching football, say, or soap operas? Both of these activities lead to people obsessively looking at a screen, day in and day out....

The Subjective Turn

Fascinating article on Hegel, historicism and human nature by Jon Stewart in Aeon magazine. Today, we dedicate much of our lives to developing and asserting some sense of personal self-identity that is identifiable and separable from that of others. People have become increasingly creative in the ways in which this...