Whatever works

Pragmatism has a bad name in politics. Whether or not by avowed allegiance many on the political spectrum will claim they subscribe to a no-nonsense pragmatism. Pragmatic politicians advocate practical solutions rather than adherence to an ideology. In more innocent times, 2016, in the lead up to the US presidential election, commentator Christopher Scalia placed…More

Digital money

Digital money attempts to keep financial transactions reliable and trustworthy without the need for a bank. To achieve this it does two things that computer networks do well: distribute and encrypt. If I create a painting then it’s a one off. If I sell it then I pass on ownership of the painting to the…More

Outsiders

Some would-be achievers like to position themselves as outsiders. An outsider can provide a fresh point of view. An outsider is also someone with an outside chance, as opposed to a front runner. That way others expect less of them. How can someone outside the mainstream be expected to capitalise on insider benefits, or know as much as an insider? When…More

What’s wrong with accelerationism

“You can’t always get what you want” is the puzzling refrain that echoed out over the PA at the end of Trump rallies, and was repeated at his subsequent post-victory reprieve rallies. The less audible punchline of the song is, “You just might find you get what you need.” Getting what you need is more important than…More

Politics as art

Art can bring into sharp relief aspects of life and the world to which people (some of us) previously paid little attention. Art can accomplish this through an ecology of signs — pointing stuff out i.e. by making direct reference. But art also informs by presenting the opposite to what we art lovers might expect as the object of…More

Emotional targeting

Why do moods matter politically? Think first about economics. If you can predict the mood of a group of people then you might be able to predict how likely they are to buy (and sell) and how much they will pay (and sell for). So investors who speculate on the stock market have a lot to gain by accurately assessing and predicting…More

Armchair postmodernism

What is (or was) postmodernism? “[T]ruth is relative, morality is subjective, and therefore all of our individually preferred ‘narratives’ that give our lives meaning are equally true and worthy of validation,” wrote David Ernst by way of definition in The Federalist (21 January 2017). It seems that the current US president is the first “to…More

“Deconstructing” the curriculum

Perhaps the term “deconstruction” is in for a comeback, as the US White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said, “That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.” (CNN). He was talking about cutting back on government regulation, though he misused the term “deconstruction.” Anti-Trump conservative US commentator Glenn…More

Inmate takes over the asylum

One Republican senator said after the historically “extraordinary” unpresidential press conference this week, “He (@realDonaldTrump) should do this with a therapist, not with the country” (The Hill). The occasion came across as an open and public catharsis. The rest of the world got drenched in the outpourings of his singularly troubled unconscious. Long term care institutions (asylums) for psychiatric patients are mostly…More

Extreme tweeting for professionals

The presence of an unregenerate tweeter in the White House places social media in the spotlight. The current state of the White House reveals it as an extreme locus of power, division, anxiety, instability, temper, ignorance, deception, self-interest, and antipathy. Trump’s use of Twitter provides an excellent case study illustrating what people can do with social media, and what it can do to them. Why should any…More