June 2004

OK, I admit it: I was a fan of the 70s sci-fi series Space 1999. And I always thought that the their spaceships, the Eagle class, really looked the part – much more so than Gerry Anderson’s earlier designs, such as Fireball XL5 and the Thunderbirds. I even preferred the Eagle to Matt Jefferies’ original…

Read More Partying like it's 1999… on the other side of the galaxy

Cognitive dissonance: A feeling of tension experienced when certain cognitions are contradictory or inconsistent with each other For example, in this morning’s news: “I think the bitter differences over the war are over,” said Mr Bush. [iC SouthLondon] While at the same time, the level of peaceful demonstrations – and threats of violence – is…

Read More Cognitive dissonance

Back on June 4th, I posted a piece about Arianna Huffington’s article comparing George W. Bush and England’s King Henry V (as depicted by Shakespeare). Of course politicians, advertisers, journalists and others have always mined the English literary canon for stirring sound-bites. (In Blood, Class and Empire, the alternately brilliant and insufferable Christopher Hitchens notes…

Read More "Our preposterous use of books"

Back on May 4th I posted a piece about colleagues who had been caught up in the most recent round of layoffs here at Sun. What some people didn’t realize is that the process was not completed back in May. For reasons associated with the reorganization of the systems business, some of the layoff decisions…

Read More Fond memories

I’ve always been interested in ways of visualizing complex systems. Simply displaying a fairly literal graphical representation of a bunch of state variables seems unsatisfactory. The correlations and causal relationships are rarely apparent; on the other hand our pattern-seeking brains are all too likely to see relationships where none exist. I remember attending a conference…

Read More Visualizing systems

A casual question from a colleague about spam prompted me to search the web for a quotation from Richard Dawkins on co-evolutionary “arms races”. What I found was this wonderful site associated with Mark Ridley’s magnum opus Evolution. The site includes a video gallery with clips featuring Dawkins, Dennett, Maynard Smith, and others. Highly recommended.…

Read More Wonderful web site on evolution