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January 2007

Why I avoid taking a taxi

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 31, 2007  ·  Musings

I am writing this from the 30th story of an apartment hotel in Brisbane, packing for a midday flight to Singapore. Outside the sky is clear, the humidity is uncomfortable and there is a burn time 6 minutes advertised in the lobby. Now it is an eight minute walk to the station for the air train, I left my hat at home, have little or no hair left on my head and no chemicals to protect my Northern European skin. I realise this shows our unhealthy obsession with numbers and of course I could just get a taxi but then I would miss out on...

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Holding up a mirror to your soul

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 30, 2007  ·  Musings

There is an interesting dialogue in Seed Magazine on the subject of deceit between two controversial figures, namely Chomsky and Trivers. Politically its position is not disguised in that it is fundamentally hostile to the current US administration. Now despite my own political views, even I can see that while criticising people for selective use of evidence, they are guilty of a similar sin. However one phrase from Trivers caught my eye:

We find repeatedly now—in wasps, in birds and in monkeys—that when organisms realize...

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“Britishness”

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 29, 2007  ·  Musings

In the light of my Australia Day experiences it was interesting to see a BBC news item on the need to teach Britishness. Now I remember being taught this in primary school and in Chapel. We were taught that the British had civilised the world (civilised here in used in the sense of Linklater's Private Angelo). My daughter recently came back with a history essay in which the English had civilised the Welsh in the 13th Century a practice they took into other countries with rigor. Imposing culture in the name of civilisation and...

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Antiquitas saeculi juventus mundi

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 28, 2007  ·  Polemic

In 1676 Newton, in a private letter to Robert Hooke said If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Stephen Jay Gould in his last book The Hedgehog, The Fox and the Magister’s Pox sees this as the apotheosis of Bacon’s earlier aphorism Antiquitas saeculi juventus mundi which loosely translated means that the good old days were the world’s youth. Bacon is challenging the pre-enlightenment orthodoxy that the goal of the intellect is to rediscover the learning of the ancients. Aquinas and Augustine...

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Fractal narratives & identity

By Dave Snowden  ·  January 27, 2007  ·  Musings

One of the many interesting things about narrative work is that the more experience you get and more reading you do the more connections you make. In this case, my experience of gathering and listening to stories, and the concept of fractals. In any organisation, society, clan or family there are stories that you have to know in order to be a part of that social group. The stories, the ability to tell them, understand their context and apply their learning are a necessary social skill.

Three examples illustrate this:

  1. Think...

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Chronology