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Blog : Posts tagged with 'communication'

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Evolving

In which we remember Darwin


Happy birthday Darwin, two hundred today, and probably one of the most important scientists who ever lived. He may not have been the sole person responsible for evolutionary theory – certainly not for modern evolutionary theory – but, as well as being a great scientist, he was a writer, someone who could communicate scientific ideas. That’s more important, sometimes, than the idea itself.

If you’re near Bristol: to commemorate Darwin, Bristol Zoo is offering free entry to anyone who turns up this morning with a beard (real or fake). As I write, there’s about 2 1/2 hours left to claim, so you’ll have to rush.

As it happens, only the other day I was reading a book which reminded me how important it is to remember Mr Darwin, as important as it ever was. Counterknowledge, by Damien Thompson, a short book on a long long subject: how falsehoods such as creationism and pseudoarchaeology are presented as somehow equal to facts and truth. How they are presented by the media as a “debate”, when one side’s evidence greatly outweighs the other.* It’s easy to find people today who believe that evolution is wrong; that somehow, because they find life beautiful, there must be a purpose and a designer behind it. And from there it’s a slippery slope to believing first that species are immutable; and from there, that conservation is unimportant, that God must have given us everything we need, and that Genesis 1:28** gives humanity the right to use up any and all resources that there are.

* as much as the inactive contents of a homeopathic remedy outweigh the active contents, you could say.

** “God said unto [man and woman],*** be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

*** Not “Adam and Eve”, note. Adam and Eve aren’t in the “six days” story of Creation, which this verse is part of. They’re in the second Creation story, which starts at Genesis 2:4; where God creates Adam from the barren earth and then Eden for him to live in.

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Important

In which we get an email from the PM


I got an email from Tony Blair today. Yes, Tony Blair. See, I must be important.

You know that anti-road-pricing petition that’s been spammed all over the net* recently? And how Tony Blair was going to respond personally? Well, I’ve already had an email from him. So there.

It’s because of a petition I’d entirely forgotten about signing, about how ID cards are a bad idea, won’t work, and will waste billions of pounds. Tony Blair wrote to tell me just how great they are, and how my participation in democracy is so important that he’s going to ignore me personally. Not just any of that old generic ignoring that everyone else gets, you understand. Personal service.

I feel touched. No, honest. See, with modern communication, the Prime Minister can tell me, personally, how he’s going to ignore what everyone else in the country wants. Now that’s what I call democracy.

* well, the British bits of it

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This is the revolution, honest

In which we consider what modern blogging is and isn’t


More from The Guardian: in the UK, an entire third of the 14-21 age group have started their own blog.

However, what that doesn’t say is that most of these blogs aren’t very interesting to outsiders; just pages of teenage gossip and bitching.* The Guardian has been over-hyping blogs for a while now, and “look, they’ve all got them!” really isn’t the important part of this story.

You’ll pick up on the important aspect of this, though, if you read the whole thing. It’s communication. The the article mentions aren’t the big new – they’re the big new revolution in Keeping In Touch. Most of the blogs on the internet now aren’t the sort of thing that the general public want to read. They’re to keep in touch with your friends, to tell them what you’ve been doing. The general public don’t read them, either – only the blogger’s friends do. In fact, they’re just the same as the traditional Personal of 1994 – the only difference is that they’re much easier to create.

* As opposed to this site, which is pages and pages of twentysomething gossip and bitching.

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