What Is Time?

On Thursday evening this week I am pleased to be one of the organizers of the Zurich Salon’s ‘What is Time?‘ discussion at the Karl der Grosse in Zurich, Switzerland. Featuring Raymond Tallis, Guido D’Amico, Norman Sieroka and Angus Kennedy, our salon will explore how we can explain the relationship between objective and subjective time, time and causation, the irruption of subjectivity and intentionality into a material universe driven by universal laws.
What Is Time?

Professor Raymond Tallis

Opinion piece on the demise of Bell Pottinger

As Bell Pottinger prepares to put itself into administration, resulting in hundreds of job losses, following its expulsion from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), here’s an opinion piece, which calls out the PRCA’s humbug.

PRCA betrayed the PR trade by witch hunting Bell Pottinger

The PRCA has willfully destroyed a great British PR brand, and then boasted about it in the public domain. Shame on them. Bell Pottinger (BP) was working for the controversial Gupta family as a cover for working for Zuma and the ANC. BP’s work for the Guptas was, it seems, done in the dark by anonymous agents in social media. Sometimes, those agents were fake. Moreover on behalf of the Guptas, BP launched attacks in SA on people and firms who were existing clients of BP. Promulgating PR messages in the dark for clients who are proxies for political parties or corrupt individuals and Continue reading "Opinion piece on the demise of Bell Pottinger"

How Sundar Pichai perpetuates stereotypical myths about women

According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s memo entitled “Our words matter“, if one man employed by the company writes or says something women find offensive regarding their gender, they start “hurting” and “worrying” every time they enter a room or open their mouth to speak in a meeting. It seems that Pichai believes that if anyone at Google is allowed to express stereotypes about women at work, his female staff will feel compelled to show that they behave diametrically counter to such claims. So, if a man writes that women are more “agreeable” than men, Google’s women will be obliged to prove that they are actually assertive. Or if women are accused of being “less tolerant” and more “neurotic” than men, they will become psychologically disturbed to the extent that countering such views will dominate their life to the detriment of their work. Pichai stated these views plainly Continue reading "How Sundar Pichai perpetuates stereotypical myths about women"

Google is wrong to shut down debate about diversity

A Google employee who wrote a controversial memo, which accused the “don’t be evil” employer of “silencing” views and creating an authoritarian “ideological echo chamber”, has had his points proven by getting fired. Google’s response to one man’s critical opinion may not be “evil”, but it comes close. The Twitter world and professional opinion formers in Silicon Valley called for the memo-writer’s head, preferably on a bloody stick. Yet hardly anybody bothered to read the carefully worded memo itself. Its author, James Damore, wrote, “I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more”. His major beef seems to be with the means that Google has chosen to pursue diversity, which he calls “discriminatory”. It is worth listing some of his key claims in the order he wrote them:

Empathy and the Charlie Gard debacle

What words might best describe Charlie Gard’s last months on earth, when he couldn’t move, breathe or swallow without the support of machines and other intrusions, which were eased by morphine? One of the best hospitals on that earth, Great Ormond Street, said his life was one of pain and suffering, and prolonging it would not change that. So again: what words describe that last five-month period when the courts were again and again required to adjudicate between prolonging or ending his life. How about “cruel and unusual” or “inhumane” or akin to “torture”? But who were the torturers? Surely the word applies to anyone who did not stand as forthrightly as they might for the logic of prioritising the opinion of people with a proven record of professionalism and compassion in the matter. It looks as though nearly everyone has some soul-searching on that score. Except Charlie Gard’s parents.
Continue reading "Empathy and the Charlie Gard debacle"

Goodbye Governance, We Don’t Need You Any More

An Argument for Less Management
By Martyn Perks The word governance speaks of the past, of a time and a way of thinking that is replete with boardroom politics, stuffy decision making, and codifying rules, guidelines, regulations and compliance. I’m not naive. Companies are, and will remain, intensely competitive and political environments. But a vibrant and integral digital workplace (if it is to add any long-lasting value) has to provide staff flexibility in what they do, access and who they can connect with. Whilst at the same time, act as the platform that can focus everyone on the main point of concern for the organization at any given point in time. Ultimately, it has to facilitate the best ways to bring staff together — and increase their connectedness and productivity as a result. If it cannot, it will quickly be sidelined. Staff will find another tool to use instead. These Continue reading "Goodbye Governance, We Don’t Need You Any More"

Pronoun police wage war on London Underground

I love London. Travel on its Tube, that vast electrified network of steel stretching hundreds of miles, and you’ll meet the world. On London’s underground everybody is, quite rightly, free to be whatever or whomever they want to be and, within the bylaws, to behave as they see fit. But now one small group of lobbyists has imposed its will on millions of their fellow travelers. I refer to the replacement of “ladies and gentlemen”, in public announcements on the underground, with “good morning, everyone”, supposedly to stop causing offence to those who identify with neither gender. That’s not right. The great thing about transgender people on the underground is that they blend into the churning throng that traverses its tunnels. They are not objects of unwanted attention or in anyway treated differently to anybody else. Mostly, they are undetectable. So, my guess is that many of them won’t appreciate Continue reading "Pronoun police wage war on London Underground"
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