Ephemera and the National Memory

I continue to be concerned with what I once called digital cultural amnesia. Though in reflecting on the word “amnesia” I no longer think it’s the best way to express the problem. Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, writes about the phenomenon in The Observer. Too many of us suffer from a condition that is going to leave our grandchildren bereft. I call it personal digital diso ... Continue Reading

Coalition! I Was Wrong about Being Wrong

In my last post, I said that I was wrong about Dion’s political strategy in the last election. It turns out that while I wasn’t exactly right, I also wasn’t wrong. I’d imagined a scenario in which the conservatives were unable to win a majority, thus putting us back in the same, unworkable situation in which we entered the election. That part happened. In my imagined scenario the Liberals wo ... Continue Reading

Polishing Up the Political Remains

Looks like I was wrong about Dion’s political strategy. Even if I was right, it didn’t turn out as I thought. I waited until today to proclaim my wrongness because I thought the last likely possibility it could unravel as I theorized would be with the speech from the throne. Today the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc could have banded together to undo the Conservatives’ minority but from the news I’v ... Continue Reading

Aesthetic Transformation

“Ugly! Eyesore! How could people think it was a good idea?” A giant slab of concrete in the middle of the outer edge of the park. For shame, city! This was no sculpture, I thought. Monument between Parc La Fontaine and Sherbrooke Why preserve and move the edge of a utilitarian-designed building to the park? If the rest of the building had been demolished, why save this? What a hoax this artist made. Eve ... Continue Reading

Politician’s Lament

I got something the other day. After a glass of x knows what and four men had to haul the logs out of the corner, we all might say we got something— But really, it was I, I got it. It started when the king fell over. "No way to play chess" I said, referring mostly to myself. But I hadn't pushed him and indeed not a single other game had finished, so they said. I saw a few pretty close to tha ... Continue Reading

What is a Thinking Organism?

Thinking organisms are, as the name implies, organisms that one creates purely as thinking. The term does not refer to organisms that think, rather “thinking” is used as a gerund. Thinking organisms remain “within” one’s mind where they grow and evolve as an organism might, were it physical. I came up with the notion for these in 1995, writing my first (perhaps naïve) experiment in th ... Continue Reading

Vote Swapping Breaks Democracy

I’ve always thought the concept of vote-swapping was problematic. Not only is it flawed in its own right but treating it as an acceptable strategy is like snuggling up to the idea that one party can function as a spoiler and that somehow, certain parties are entitled to votes. This is endemic to thinking of politics in a left/right dichotomy. Continue reading “Vote Swapping Breaks Democracy” ... Continue Reading

Unravelling Dion’s Political Strategy

Though my attention is tuned to our federal election, this post doesn’t continue the IP political issues I wrote detailing a stance against certain sorts of “intellectual property” regulation (NDP seems to address it best, though Dion provided a reasonable response to my letter). I’ll go on a tangent today: Stéphane Dion’s campaign strategy is so shrewd he’s already slashed thro ... Continue Reading

Relatives of Thinking Organisms

The following might be considered relatives to thinking organisms. These should not however, be confused for thinking organisms. These may engage a person in similar sorts of thinking or even result in similar insight or awareness, however each of these function in their own distinct ways. Thought Experiments The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy defines a thought experiment as: a technique for testing a hypothesi ... Continue Reading

Five Propositions about Death

1. Caught in a substance imperceptible to humans, like a spider-spun web (as their web substance certainly must be to insects). We go about our lives. One day Bill walks into the substance (the web) scarcely perceiving it. Months pass and he notices his struggle with increased workplace stress. It’s uncanny his desire for fried fat-laden food, ever greasier. Some people remark on his disinterest in physical f ... Continue Reading

What Would Happen if You De-occupy the Cognitive Surplus?

The “West” is known for its consumers. Much of the rest of the world is trying its best to head in that direction too. Reading Clay Shirky’s recent blog post, Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, got me thinking about the stance of the passive consumer. I’m wondering if the new consumer will be a producer… that is, one who consumes that which allows him or her to produce, which may imp ... Continue Reading