Here's an excellent presentation about moral psychology. I particularly like the way in which the speaker comes across as very confident of his own political position despite of the apparent moral relativism (but it's actually moral humility) that he proposes. Being aware of and respecting your opponent's standpoint doesn't have to mean that your own position is weak.
Why are people still so impressed by Pascal's wager after all those centuries? Surely, if there were a god in any meaningful sense (i.e. omniscient and -potent), she would send him to the other place for thinking that he could deceive her by faking his faith. I guess that would count as pride ...
The Basle indigenous will hopefully be forgiven for thinking their home town to be the centre of the universe for the next couple of weeks. Not only is the high and mighty Art world currently assembled here, but even some football tournament is being kicked off as we type ... but don't expect to read anything more about it here.
Total time spent watching TV in the USA ... 200'000'000'000 hours per annum
TV time of global web-connected population ... 1'000'000'000'000 hours p.a.
That's what Clay Shirky calls Cognitive Surplus. An interesting thought indeed.
Yesterday, I went to a meeting of an Edinburgh alumni group at the Member's Room of the Swiss Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Schönenwerd. The group consisted of MBA alumni who were kind enough to invite us others, so we were a motley crew from different faculties and graduation years, and I happened to be the most senior of the lot, at least in terms of the graduation year. It was great fun to meet everybody, and I hope we will be able to do that again. The icing on the cake was that I got to see the Member's Room, which I've never been to despite of all the years that I'm a member.
Homer singt Tod und Klingen, zaubert Hexameter durch die Jahrtausende, sechs Hebungen pro Vers, über jede rumpelt der tote Körper Hektors, den Achill in seinem Zorn vor den Mauern Trojas herumschleift. Wie Blitze zucken altgriechische Grosssbuchstaben am Himmel über den Helden, OΔYΣΣEYΣ bohrt sich als zischheisser Pfahl ins Auge des Riesen Polyphem. Pfähle, Lanzen und steil ragende Phalli - und jetzt also soll Homer ein Eunuch gewesen sein?Ein literarisches Fundstück besonderer Güte aus Stefan Zweifels gelungener Kolumne zur Sonderausstellung Homer, die ich ganz bestimmt besuchen werde. Schliesslich: Honi soit qui jaune y pense.
Without a doubt, Petra is an amazing place, incidentally re-discovered by a fellow countryman in 1812. You can check the place out much more comfortably than him by using Google Earth with its great coverage. I am not sure whether this is going to work, but if it does, you'll get directed to Petra by clicking here for Petra.kmz. Have fun!
Some other pictures are of the Dead Sea (very dead, indeed - note the complete absence of boats), and of Amman, Jordan's capital (quite alive, actually). When in Amman, don't miss to go to Darat al-Funun, a rather surprising and relaxing place. Kudos to The Rough Guide to Jordan for pointing me there!
The journey on Lufthansa was ok, considering that I lost a day because my feeder to Frankfurt was cancelled without replacement. It's really hard to understand why all major airlines get very odd arrival/departure times (ca. 0230h), which is quite a bit of hassle. Especially when you're at the airport early, fully expecting that you can while away your time in the lounge. No such luck - you're not getting in because the check-in counters will not be manned. Jordanians are certainly a very friendly and congenial people, but it is noticeable that tourism hasn't been among their core competencies ... but that will happen before long.
My impressions of the place are complex. It's obviously an Arab country (the first I've been to!) with all the behavioural trappings of the culture, although moderated by a strong influence of the pragmatic Palestinians. Most impressive, though, is the mixture, or maybe partially the overlay, of the different influences that have accumulated over time from both invaders and refugees: Roman, Ottoman, Palestinian, even Circassian! I was particularly interested in trying to discover the remnants of the Ottoman empire, which I've been fascinated by on my trips to Istanbul. The Arab perspective is significantly different. And I'll just mention Lawrence ... Aqaba!!
This post is in part-fulfilment against a friendly complaint that I don't post enough about my trips, which I cannot deny. But I'll try to do better, promise!
There's only two minor issues with that approach. Yesterday evening, I was enjoying a pizza in Manchester, UK - at least according to Locate me, I was. Unfortunately I was just about 3km from home. And the next is that Skyhook's coverage is somewhat sketchy in Europe, meaning that it won't usually work. Unless, that is, you submit the hotspot of your choice to Skyhook. The only thing you'll need is a bit of patience as it takes Skyhook a few days to update their database, your router's MAC address and your location. Which naturally seems to make the whole exercise a bit pointless, I admit, but isn't it great to show off the neat feature in the safety of your own home? Thought so ...
- Change is pain
- Behaviourism doesn't work
- Humanism is overrated
- Focus is power
- Expectation shapes reality
- Attention density shapes identity
"We do that two or three times a year."
This is essential watching for every Anglophone who stares blankly at continental Europeans quipping about the same procedure as last year. The video is a 1963 Swiss-German co-production that is traditionally aired on virtually every TV station on the last day of the year.