Robert was right

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM: by Robert Pirsig, 1974) remains one of my favourite books.

It’s such a profound treasure that even stating what it’s about is difficult. That can be a good sign in certain books: Continue reading

Please send me your CVs

I am writing about conformity in employment selection. This will become a Human Resources tutorial pointing out the skills and traits that really matter, as compared to what employers actually select for. There is tremendous misunderstanding out there about these points.  Continue reading

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It’s illogical, Spock

After forty years of Spock being part of my life, and especially influential when I was young, it finally dawned on me that the character as we’ve known him is nonsensical. Continue reading

Why IQ scores are baloney

In a previous post I undertook to make this argument.

First, intelligence is real, also some people really do have more of it and others less. Furthermore, most people are unaware of its true variability in humans. For physical traits one commonly sees approximately ten percent variation, but even over a lifetime one would be unlikely to see more than forty percent variation for most physical traits. However, these obvious differences are nothing compared to the less visible ways we vary mentally. However, the ways we measure this variability are so flawed, dare I say stupid, as to be almost humorous.

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Queensland 1

[I wrote this in January 2007, my first return visit to Australia while living in China. At the time I’d been away for two years.]

I’d never spent much time in Queensland previously. Except for a few short work trips confined to Brisbane CBD and a university, and one unpleasant family driving trip in 1981, I’d hardly noticed Queensland before. Brisbane, the state capital, is almost as far away from my former home as New Zealand, and most of Queensland is double that.

People from the “populated” southeast of Australia often regard the northern state as an amusement, whether politically, environmentally and/or socially. And I have to admit that prior to 1989 it very much deserved its reputation for silly backwardness. What’s the effect of a nuclear explosion on a World Heritage rainforest? Let’s substitute the equivalent megatonnage of TNT and find out. How many crooked electoral and money-laundering schemes can one government get away with? Let’s see! But at least those wild, swaggering days weren’t dull; for that, I can overlook a lot. Today, it, like the rest of Australia, is much less interesting.

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Mobile phones

Mobile phones are a scourge of this age, especially among kids who are consumed by them. On a walk the other day, a nine-year old girl riding her bike on the road in front of her house nearly hit me because she was so oblivious from concentrating on her phone. How much less would she notice fast moving cars?

The problem is that mobile phones are addictive, and we do not generally give children free reign with other addictive things. We usually keep young kids entirely away from them, only introducing them when they’re older and then in a controlled, staged, way. We need a similar approach for mobile phones.