Friday, 28 February 2014

Premature Articulation

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
— Robert Heinlein

Thursday, 27 February 2014

True To Form

Noam Chomsky Manufactured My Consent
And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What 'Begging The Question' Means

Begging the question (or petitio principii, "assuming the initial point") is a logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise. The word beg, when used in this phrase, does not mean "asking for something", instead it means to dodge or avoid.

The first known definition in the West is by the Greek philosopher Aristotle around 350 BCE, in his book Prior Analytics, where he classified it as a material fallacy.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Being Vs Ethics

You can’t get an ought from an is.
— Richard Dawkins 'The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage To The Dawn Of Life'

Monday, 24 February 2014

Parkinson's Law of Social Work

It's well known that social problems increase to occupy the total number of social workers available to deal with them.
— Dr Cartwright

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Poodles, Slugs And Footballers

We animals are the most complicated things in the known universe.
— Richard Dawkins

Friday, 21 February 2014

Just Desserts

Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.
 — Joseph Priestley

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Trapped In A Cell Phone

For every hill there is a tower,
For every dill there is the power
To send the message crisp and clear:
"You are there and I am here …"
— Michæl Leunig 'The Towers Of Babble'

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


By giving us the opinions of the uneducated,
journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
— Oscar Wilde

The difference between literature and journalism is
that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
— Oscar Wilde

In America the President reigns for four years,
and Journalism governs forever and ever.
— Oscar Wilde

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Rewards Of Teaching

COMPU-TEACH: Good morning life-form.
PUPIL: Hi teach.
COMPU-TEACH: Are you sitting comfortably?
COMPU-TEACH: Then stand up! Harsh Economic Truths, Class Seventeen. You are standing up?
COMPU-TEACH: Good. Posit: you are living in an exciting, go-ahead civilisation. Where are you looking?
COMPU-TEACH: What do you see?
PUPIL: The open sky. The stars. An infinite horizon.
COMPU-TEACH: Correct! You may press the button.
PUPIL: Thank you.
[Button is pressed. A surge of energy]
PUPIL: Wow! That feels nice.
COMPU-TEACH: Posit: you are living in a stagnant, declining civilisation. Where are you looking?
PUPIL: Down.
COMPU-TEACH: What do you see?
PUPIL: My shoes.
COMPU-TEACH: Correct! What do you do to cheer yourself up?
PUPIL: Uhm… press the button?
COMPU-TEACH: Incorrect! Think again. Your world is a depressing place; you are looking at your shoes. How do you cheer yourself up?
PUPIL: I buy a new pair.
PUPIL: Can I press the button?
COMPU-TEACH: All right.
[Button is pressed. A surge of energy]
PUPIL: Wa-ho! So nice.
COMPU-TEACH: Now, imagine everyone does the same thing. What happens?
PUPIL: Everyone feels nice?
COMPU-TEACH: Ah, forget the button! Concentrate! Everyone buys new shoes. What happens?
PUPIL: More shoes.
PUPIL: More shoe shops.
PUPIL: Can I - ?
PUPIL: Oh-oooo.
COMPU-TEACH: And in order to support all these extra shoe shops, what must happen?
PUPIL: Everyone… must keep buying shoes.
COMPU-TEACH: And how is that arranged?
PUPIL: Manufacturers dictate more and more different fashions and make shoes so badly that they either hurt the feet or fall apart.
PUPIL: Everyone has to buy more shoes.
PUPIL: Until… everyone gets fed up with lousy, rotten shoes.
COMPU-TEACH: And then what?
PUPIL: Why can’t I press the button?
COMPU-TEACH: And then what?! Come on!
PUPIL: Massive capital investment by the manufacturers to try and make people buy the shoes.
COMPU-TEACH: Which means?
PUPIL: More shoe shops.
COMPU-TEACH: And then we reach what point?
PUPIL: The point where I press the button again.
COMPU-TEACH: Oh, all right.
[Button is pressed. A surge of energy]
PUPIL: Wa-hoo! Ahhhh… So nice, that’s really nice!
COMPU-TEACH: And then we reach what point?!
PUPIL: The Shoe Event Horizon! The whole economy overbalances; shoe shops outnumber every kind of shop! It becomes economically impossible to build anything other than shoe shops, and bingo, I get to press the button again!
[Button is pressed. Another surge of energy]
PUPIL: Wooo!
COMPU-TEACH: Wait for permission! Now, what’s the final stage?
PUPIL: Umm. Every shop in the world ends up as a shoe shop.
PUPIL: Shoes that no one can wear.
PUPIL: Famine, collapse, and ruin. Any survivors eventually evolve into… birds and never put their feet on the ground again.
COMPU-TEACH: Excellent! End of Lesson. You may press the button.
[Button is pressed. A surge of energy]
PUPIL: Woo-ha-ha! Yee-he-hehooo! Ah-ha. Oh, that’s nice. Thank you teach. Goodbye.
COMPU-TEACH: Ah-ah! Aren’t you forgetting something?
PUPIL: What?
COMPU-TEACH: Press the other button.
PUPIL: Oh, right.
[Other button is pressed. A big surge of energy]
COMPU-TEACH: Oh-ho-ho! Ooooo, ooooo-waaahhh! Oooo-hooo-weee-ha-hah!!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Real 'Problem Of Evil'

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
 — Edmund Burke

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Vicious Circle

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
 ― George Orwell, 1984

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Beyond Belief

One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.
 ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World