We need to rethink addictions

For the last century, the world, led by the US and the UK, have treated addictions as criminal acts that need to be punished. But it’s time to stop and consider whether that makes sense and whether that’s right and appropriate.

If you watch the TED talk below, you’ll come to find out that a much more powerful way to overcome addictions is to engage addicts and give them purpose.

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From Just In Time, to Just In Case

Margaret discusses how our automation and efficiencies are making us unprepared for the future as well as having an impact on society as a whole.

Margarent Heffernan gave a great TED talk about how companies and individuals have trended towards automation and efficiency, which to a large extent is a good thing. However, this can unravel quickly when the unexpected happens.

Margaret talks about how forward-thinking companies and agencies are now moving more towards a “just in case” model of management instead of “just in time” where everything is so planned out, that everything is exactly where it needs to be at just the right time. The theory behind “just in case” is that the unexpected will happen and when it does, the consequences can be devastating, unless you’re prepared to handle perfectly plausible situations even if they would be unexpected.

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Ricky Gervais does it again with After Life

Ricky Gervais has nailed it again, and caused me to bawl as he tells the story of Tony: a middle-aged widower who has turned his back on the world.

I’ve long been a fan of Ricky Gervais ever since David Brent graced our screens back in 2001.

What is most unique about Ricky’s shows is that he champions the ordinary and the unseen. In The Office, it was the awkward middle manager who had cringeworthy people skills. In Derek, it was the intellectually-challenged volunteer at an old people’s home. And now we have After Life, the story of Tony, who recently lost his wife to breast cancer, and has taken the attitude of giving zero fucks, each and every day. He does what he wants, and says what he wants, because he’d rather be dead than dealing with the grief of losing his wife.

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Pomp and Circumstance, Land of Hope and Glory & “the graduation song”

I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Land of Hope and Glory by Edward Elgar and A.C. Benson, but as it turns out, this massively patriotic English song is bizarrely used at every graduation ceremony in America…

Growing up, I was always aware of The Proms, especially The Last Night of the Proms, but since my Mum didn’t have a love of classical music, it was never something that I watched or ever had a desire to watch.

For some reason unknown to me, last week I ended up watching some of the pieces from The Last Night of the Proms of recent years and I fell in love. I must have listened to Land of Hope and Glory about thirty times, including blasting it out in my car on the way home. Land of Hope and Glory is a song with the words written by A.C. Benson to be sung over the music, Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 by Edward Elgar. It’s a truly patriotic song and easy to see why it caught on so quickly when Elgar played it for Queen Victoria in 1901. Continue reading “Pomp and Circumstance, Land of Hope and Glory & “the graduation song””

Elon Musk’s visions for the future

Elon Musk discussed his work to date, between Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company, what he’s currently working on and how he sees the future (spoiler alert: your house will have a solar roof and you may know someone living on Mars)

I see and read a lot about Elon Musk, between his appearances in the news and the technology and engineering articles that I tend to gravitate towards, but I don’t recall having ever seen an interview with him.

My love of Wait But Why has given me a very thorough run-down of Elon’s projects over the last few years between Tesla, Hyperloop, SpaceX and more recently Neuralink, and it has always been clear from the sheer scale of his vision that he’s a brilliant mind that is thinking decades ahead of us. However, reading about him and his projects doesn’t make you appreciate his genius quite like seeing him talk about them.

Elon recently did an interview at TED2017 and for 40 minutes, he and Chris Anderson talked about all of the projects that Elon is juggling. What is most captivating is the way in which Elon thinks about the future and rationally asserts how things are going to change in the future. Continue reading “Elon Musk’s visions for the future”

Greg Davies: perhaps my favourite comedian

Greg Davies is now a household name in the UK, where his down-to-earth comedy makes you feel like you’re having a laugh at the pub with your mates.

I just finished watching Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog by Greg Davies again and I realised that he may well be my favourite comedian.

Those of you outside the UK probably have no idea who he is, so for the uninitiated, he’s a middle-aged man that used to a be a teacher and found his calling as a stand-up comedian in his thirties.

He’s clearly a very funny man and I think that perhaps the most endearing thing about him is that he’s still just like the funny guy in your group of friends, who laughs his way through his stories. There’s no persona, he freely makes fun of himself, and you just want to be his best friend. Genuine bloke. Continue reading “Greg Davies: perhaps my favourite comedian”

Why institutional trust has vanished and distributed trust is soaring

Uber, AirBnB and Bitcoin are at the forefront of a trust revolution, where we’re ditching our faith in institutions like banks, governments and churches in favour of trusting complete strangers that we can reliably put our faith in.

I love a good TED talk. Every now and then, one resonates so well with me that I feel compelled to post it here to share it with other.

Rachel Botsman’s recent talk was one such talk. She discussed how trust has moved through three distinct phases in history: local trust, where our trust was knowing those in the village, institutional trust, where we relied upon banks, companies and governments to determine who and what could be trusted to the recently emerging distributed trust, where our behaviour, reputation and globally accepted practices and technologies dictate what we can trust today.
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Brexit: an autopsy

In June, the UK collectively and narrowly voted to leave the European Union in a referendum which has divided the nation on a scale never seen before. Alexander Betts looks at the causes and effects of the result in an intelligent and considered way that helps us to realise that there’s some ugly demons in all our societies.

It’s been about 6 weeks since Britons went to the polls and narrowly decided that they wanted to leave the European Union. I had some thoughts on the matter the day after the result, but perhaps the best autopsy on the result that I have seen thus far has been from Alexander Betts in a TED talk he gave just days after the result.

Alexander is a social scientist and works specifically in the field of migration and refugees. No matter which side of the fence you are on, it’s hard to deny the validity of Alexander’s arguments. Continue reading “Brexit: an autopsy”

Mechanical music

Using 2000 marbles and a hand-crafted machine, Wintergatan has made an enormous music box that is mesmerising to watch

My wife happened upon this YouTube video today and I was just blown away by how creative it was.

Wintergatan is a Swedish folktronica band that have spent the last two years ago building a giant music box out of wood, metal and LEGO that uses steel marbles to play instruments including a bass guitar, vibraphone and drums.

I have watched this several times, in awe at how each marble is lifted into place and rhythmically fired towards an instrument to hit the right note at the right time. So creative. Continue reading “Mechanical music”