Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Derren Brown did it again the other night making the possible look impossible. He threw a coin and got 10 heads in a row. Then he enabled a non-betting person to win on the horses 6 times in a row making serious money in the process. How did he do it? Well he did it by only telling us part of the story. I wonder how much of what we see looks unlikely simply because of the hidden complexity behind it? Or perhaps more poignantly, how amazing is that complexity in its own right?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Can't resist posting this gem, for no particular reason:
Freud declares that the miser is invariably constipated, and associates the dream of money with faeces.


In sharp contrast to the RSA event (below), Channel 4's 'Staying On' debate provided an engaging, mind-changing experience. It even ended up with the RSA's question - What are schools for? - and unlike the RSA, at least tried to grapple with it.
Samira Ahmed presided over 6 panellists and the 100 strong audience with panache. Each panellist was limited to a few minutes' to state their case whereas the 2 RSA speakers droned on for at least 20 minutes each about... search me.
So well done C4 and wake up RSA.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I went to an education debate at the RSA the other night: "What are schools for?". Two eminent speakers and a high profile chair. The evening failed for me on 2 counts. Firstly the speakers were both firmly entrenched in the paradigm that education is about injecting information into people's heads. Secondly the format locked out the audience, which had far more intelligent things to say than either speaker. Even the worthy chair made no significant contribution.