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What makes you happy?

This article, and the underlying study, is so good that I almost don’t dare talk too much about it here.  You really should just read it

In a nutshell: for the past 72 years, a sample of 268 men have been followed and their entire history – medical, familial, physical, emotional, mental – recorded in great depth.  The study is coming to end, mainly because only half of the original group are still alive, and they are in their late eighties.  It has a huge amount to teach us about how our lives shape our personalities, and vice versa.

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Sunday, May 17th, 2009 Uncategorised No Comments

Mixed Day for April Fools

The Guardian absolutely nails it with news that they are soon to be the first newspaper to publish exclusively via Twitter, a story that balances absurdity with just enough plausibility to cause a double-take.  Their famous stories rewritten as twitter posts (tweets) are very well done, and they even manage to squeeze in a proper snark:

At a time of unprecedented challenge for all print media, many publications have rushed to embrace social networking technologies. Most now offer Twitter feeds of major breaking news headlines, while the Daily Mail recently pioneered an iPhone application providing users with a one-click facility for reporting suspicious behaviour by migrants or gays.

Sadly, it’s all downhill from there; The Telegraph have a story about migrating salmon being used to generate electrivity, while The Times can only manage this tame effort.  They are joking, right?

UPDATE: The Guardian’s efforts just keep getting better and better

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 Uncategorised 1 Comment

How much does a website cost?

Ed posts a typically thoughtful and balanced meditation on this key question. Turns out our prices are reasonable, by Ed’s reckoning, which is always good to know.

Friday, March 20th, 2009 Uncategorised No Comments

How to print one A4 page as two A5 pages in Microsoft Word

It’s a common problem: you have written your article, poster, flyer or handout on an A4 page in MS Word, and you suddenly think to yourself, “I could do with printing two of these per page at A5 size”.

Initial A4 Page

Figure 1: Initial A4 Page

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 Uncategorised 232 Comments

The science of the afterlife

If you have a spare 20 minutes during the Christmas break (you are having a Christmas break, aren’t you?) I thoroughly recommend reading the full version of this Times Online article by Bryan Appleyard.  I just found it a) was quite insightful about the ways that scientific positions require faith and b) made me feel strangely hopeful. 

The world, on the face of it, is made of two ingredients: thoughts and things. A brick, for example, is, on the one hand, a fact in the world and, on the other, a combination of all my feelings about bricks in general and this brick in particular. This is generally regarded as a very odd state of affairs. My thoughts and feelings are as real to me as the brick, but they don’t seem to be made of the same stuff. Indeed, they don’t seem to be made of any stuff. The belief that they aren’t, that the world is made of two different substances — bricks and thoughts of bricks — is called dualism. Dualism is the default human conviction, embraced by religions, philosophies and, in fact, by everybody in their lives — if we didn’t embrace some degree of it, we’d be constantly worried about crashing our cars into other people’s thoughts. Dualism means that the mind and the brain are not made of the same things and therefore in theory, they can be separated, as in NDEs.

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Thursday, December 18th, 2008 Uncategorised No Comments

How to find things that you have lost

Professor Solomon has the answers.  Simple wisdom, clearly stated.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everything on the web was this useful?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 Uncategorised No Comments

So why start blogging now?

I’ve had a nagging feeling for some time that I really should have a blog – after all, all the cool kids have been doing it for years*. Trouble is, the fact that everyone else is doing it is pretty much the best guarantee that I won’t do something.

Honestly, I’m terrible; if I’m ordering a meal and more than one person orders the thing I was planning to have, I generally won’t order it, even if I really like it.  It’s not single-mindedness; it’s embarrassment.

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Friday, October 17th, 2008 Uncategorised No Comments

The obligatory first post

A moment of history.  I’ll get better with practice.

Friday, October 17th, 2008 Uncategorised 1 Comment