Fake news, late medieval style

Many pages, blogs and articles are being written about social media and the proliferation of fake news, conspiracy theories, and general misinformation. It seems that this is nothing new. When printing became common – between about 1450 and 1500, i.e. over a short period, similar to the time it has taken the Internet to revolutionizeContinue reading “Fake news, late medieval style”

11th October – the Problematic International Day of the Girl

In 2011, 11th October was declared by the United Nations to be International Day of the Girl. This an important declaration, both because of its symbolism and because it focuses opinion-makers (and the wider public) on the plight of young women across the world. This year, it sends out the following message. “As adolescent girlsContinue reading “11th October – the Problematic International Day of the Girl”

Systemic Racism in Québec

Last Tuesday, Joyce Echaquan died in Joliette hospital. It’s a desperately sad story: as she lay telling nurses that she was being overmedicated, the nurses threw racial slurs at her, telling her she was getting what she deserved. She died crying for help, belittled and insulted by ‘care’ staff. The Prime Minister of Quebec putsContinue reading “Systemic Racism in Québec”

Reading H.P.Lovecraft in the Age of Trump

The other day I picked up a collection of Lovecraft’s short stories, and am now half way through. They are an enjoyable, off-kilter, read, plunging one into a world beneath the surface of which lurk ghouls, monsters and age-old satanic rituals. These are perpetuated by individuals and families who are partly unsuspecting, partly caught upContinue reading “Reading H.P.Lovecraft in the Age of Trump”

Unfortunately, the personal has become political

Feminism is on my mind: I’m currently reading some fascinating journalistic writing by Nellie Bly, as well as Leslie Kern’s interesting, but slightly problematic, Feminist City. Interesting, because it shows how necessary a feminist approach to cities is : Kern highlights urban issues that men are either unaware of, or feel constrained by their genderContinue reading “Unfortunately, the personal has become political”

Are scientists against Trump? On subjectivity, innumeracy, and absolute statements

To begin: performing research on ‘work-from-home’ (as I work from home) I’ve spent the last few weeks undertaking research on where people work (focussing on people’s impressions after switching from office-work to home-work), preparing and modifying courses for on-line delivery (in particular some introductory stats courses, hence this post!), delivering some lectures, and sorting outContinue reading “Are scientists against Trump? On subjectivity, innumeracy, and absolute statements”

The quiet expropriation: financial ‘advice’

These days – and quite understandably – retirement funds and savings are not a major preoccupation. Yet – unless the system we live under radically changes – any young person contemplating their future needs to think vaguely about how they will build up some capital or savings to care for themselves when they no longerContinue reading “The quiet expropriation: financial ‘advice’”

Toppling statues

There is a debate going on in Montreal which mirrors debates that have occurred elsewhere when statues of prominent people – erected as symbols honoring those we (as a society) admire – have been toppled. Colonial leaders who have endowed colleges, slave traders generous to city coffers, and, a few days ago, prime ministers whoContinue reading “Toppling statues”

Unicycles and algorithms

Algorithms, and their prosaic manifestation as video games, computer software and apps, shape the way we think and create. To some extent they open up creative possibilities. For instance, they enable me to develop and adjust my RAW digital photos: this is certainly an improvement for me, since I do not have the space forContinue reading “Unicycles and algorithms”