The journey of the Voyager space probes

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

Voyagers, a short film about the two Voyager space probes, launched in 1977, that are now in, or near, interstellar space. Theirs is a fascinating journey.

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Sometimes I love to hate not going with the flow

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

What is it you loathe, or have no time for, that other people can’t stop raving about?

Somewhere around the 500th headline I read in praise of Hamilton, the universally acclaimed Broadway musical due in Europe next year, I was struck by a deflating thought: I’ll probably never see it. Not just because it’s virtually impossible to get a ticket, but because so many people – people whose tastes I trust – have raved about it that I now regard the prospect with annoyance.

I’m yet to see an episode of Game of Thrones, even though I stumble across at least one news article on the series each day. It makes me wonder, what can put some people off something, that just about everyone else likes though?

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Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, and now London?

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

The prospect of independence for Scotland and Northern Ireland seemed like reasonable propositions, in the wake of last week’s referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, given both had voted by a clear margin to remain part of the single market.

The remain vote was also high in London, but I didn’t think that would lead to calls for the English capital to breakaway from the United Kingdom, and become a city state, along the lines of Singapore and Hong Kong. Still, that is what has happened.

There is actually a credible case for independence. Singapore, Hong Kong and Monaco all prove that cities can exist on their own. There is historical credibility too – in feudal times free cities were outside of the control of regional barons, and were bastions cosmopolitanism and free thinking – where new idea and new inventions were born. London is like this today.

I would say the Scottish and Northern Ireland causes have the greater chance of success, despite the considerable huddles each face. I’m not sure London could go its own way though, as much as I like the idea.

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The confessions of a Craigslist seller

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

Telling his story through Craigslist Confessional, a former security guard talks about selling disused, sometimes broken, office equipment, taken from his old workplace, so as to supplement his family’s income.

At 5:45 exactly, after I’d completed my last round and made sure that everyone was gone, I used my key card to swipe into the office. I looked at the stacks of old office machinery that lined the back wall, and thought to myself that there was no way anyone would notice one crummy broken printer was missing. So I grabbed it, put it in a recyclable grocery bag, and went home.

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Falling Tide, a short animation by Ning Cheng

Tuesday, 28 June, 2016

Falling Tide, by Ning Cheng. I knew something weird was going on, but I didn’t see that twist at the end coming.

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Are our personalities constant, or might they change over time?

Tuesday, 28 June, 2016

Does someone’s personality stay the same throughout their life, or does it change over time, on account of changing circumstances, and being exposed to different perspectives?

The beliefs, assumptions, expectations that you’ve gotten from your friends, family, culture – those things, Mischel explains, are the filter through which you see the world. Your mind stands between who you are, your personality and whatever situation you are in. It interprets the world around it, and how it feels about what it sees. And so when the stuff inside the mind changes, the person changes.

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Tossed shoes by Pejac, that reach for the stars

Tuesday, 28 June, 2016

Artwork by Pejac

Barcelona based artist Pejac has taken an interest in shoe-tossing, the act of throwing a pair of shoes, that are bound together by their laces, so they dangle from a power line.

The shoes that Pejac tosses at power lines however, that are part of a series of installations titled Downside Up, have an uncanny knack for floating, rather than being suspended. Bizarre, right?

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Are you a fish out of water? As it happens there are fish out of water

Tuesday, 28 June, 2016

I sometimes feel as if I’m a fish out of water, but that may not be any bad thing. Fish, as it happens, or some species at least, are not quite as averse to being out of water, if only for short periods of time, despite common perceptions to the contrary.

The UNSW researchers found that 33 different families of fish have at least one species that demonstrates some terrestrial activity and, in many cases, these behaviours are likely to have evolved independently in the different families.

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Ronin, a new track from Thug Entrancer

Monday, 27 June, 2016

I can’t decide what I like the most about Ronin, a new track from Denver based electronic band Thug Entrancer… the tune, the video clip, or the name of the act.

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Don’t procrastinate, figure out what troubles you instead

Monday, 27 June, 2016

I always welcome thoughts on the topic of procrastination, since it can be such a – you know – drag on productivity. Rather than being the result of a lack of impetus, or inspiration, procrastination is triggered by the worry, or anxiety, associated with doing something that is seen to be difficult.

Turns out, the real reason people procrastinate is in attempt to avoid the anxiety or worry aroused by a difficult task. Instead of doing the work, we engage in activities aimed at repairing our mood, like taking a nap or eating a snack or checking our inbox or calculating our social media likes.

The challenge then is to somehow see through the hardship of whatever needs doing, and act. That might sometimes be easier to say than do though.

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