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UIs and Motorcycles

User interfaces are important; they are the system in question (from the user's point of view).

Science, Earthquakes and Jail

Six Italian scientists and one government official were found recently guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of 309 people in an earthquake in L'Aquila in 2009. The case attracted a lot of attention as many thought the scientists were on trial for failing to predict the earthquake. So what was going on? And is this a good or bad thing for science?

Anti-Science On The Rise

This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. However three examples that I came across within a week or so inspired me to write. I speak of the disturbing, growing trend of anti-scientific thinking.

In late June, the Texas GOP adopted the policy that they "oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs … which focus on behaviour modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."1

Don't Be Afraid Of Failure

I was fortunate enough to see a presentation by NASA Administrator Charles Frank Bolden Jr. today. In addition to a brief outline of what NASA does, he had some very inspiring words.

On Whimsy

The world needs more whimsy. Sometimes we're too serious about everything and we need to lighten up.

Case in point. One of my favourite TV shows is QI, almost entirely whimsical in and of itself. In an episode made last year, but only shown in Australia just recently, the host, Stephen Fry, is sporting a large, fake moustache. At one point during the show, one of the contestants, Bill Bailey, said something along the lines of, "I’m just imagining that that moustache is going to have its own website by the end of the show".

Petrol Station Rudeness

The setting: my local petrol station. The situation: there's one bowser free, I'm approaching on my bike and a car approaches from the other direction. He puts his indicator on. Who will get there first?

Damn it, he does. He had the right of way as he was on the same side of the road as the petrol station. He nipped in front of me. Exactly what I would have done if I'd been in his position :)

An End To A Quirky Tradition

When we moved into the area about 10 years ago, we started ordering take-away from the local Thai restaurant. Jamie would order and I would go and pick up. The first time we did this, I picked up the order in Jamie's name. Since then the staff have addressed me as Jamie.

What Makes Really Good TV?

Is it possible to mourn the ending of a TV series? I've just finished watching Series IV of Battlestar Galactica on DVD and it was a little sad to finally come to the end of a great story.

A Look Back At 2009

A new year and time to look back on the old one. (Last year's review.)

A Look Back at 2008

A new year and time to look back on the old one.

Politically, two events stood out above all others: the apology by the Australia government to the stolen generations on February 12; and the election of Barack Obama as the President of the USA on November 4. Both were highly symbolic and full of hope. It remains to be seen whether either makes a significant difference.

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