Author Archives: Simon

The meaning of neural activity

“The meaning off neural activity lies outside the brain…brain activity can be understood, that is, has meaning only to the extent that it is a representation of the state of the body, of the external world, or of a potential … Continue reading

The consolations of isolation

“Isolation offered its own form of companionship: the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings. The promise that she would find things where she put them, that there would be no interruption, no surprise. It greeted … Continue reading

Squeaky Dolphin

From an article about the anxieties of big data by Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford. 2014 is the year we learned about Squeaky Dolphin. That’s the Pynchon-worthy code name for a secret program created by British intelligence agency GCHQ to monitor … Continue reading

Explorers

“Nowadays being an explorer is a trade, which consists not, as one may think, in discovering hitherto unknown facts after years of study, but in covering a great many miles and assembling lantern-slides or motion pictures, preferably in colour, so … Continue reading

Airmiles?

  From a blog post by FT management writer Andrew Hill.

Chips and kinships

This whole information business

One of the many revelations from reading Jon Gertner’s magisterial history of Bell Labs, is learning more about the story of Claude Shannon. He was one of any visionaries at the labs, but seems to have been preeminent amongst a … Continue reading

On PR

“We can’t rely on influencing, landing messages, representing, spinning. The game’s up. The great lumbering beast that is late, western capitalism has to turn itself to face the great mass to which it’s suddenly accountable – activist and accessed, wired … Continue reading

Packets

Nice little movie that simply describes how packet switching allows the page you’re now reading to get delivered to you in under a second:

Anthropology & design

“Anthropology provides a kind of thick description that contextualises design processes and products, and design offers anthropology creative means of exploring and representing what it means to be human” anne galloway

Permissionless Innovation

Life and apologies

Things

“Material thing are often like that. They have a certain humility. They jump up and down and confronts you as a critical symbols of yourself or your relationships. They don’t theorise themselves or abstract themselves. Often one only really pays … Continue reading

Incommunicado

As J.B. Priestley noted – “The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – a thought captured elegantly in this series of photos documenting our obsession with mobile phones by Benjamin McMahon

Stripe Partners

Earlier in the week we pressed the button on a new company website. The business is called Stripe Partners – and although the founding partners have been working together for a short while on initial client engagements we’d not previously … Continue reading

Ageing numbers

Picture cred   The Office of National Statistics (ONS) in November pumped out another batch of data relating to the ageing of the UK – here are some of the highlights: The number of state pensioners will increase by around … Continue reading

‘That full complement of riches’

For those who attended the “Why the world needs anthropologists” symposium in Amsterdam yesterday here are the slides. For those that didn’t attend I hope the notes with the slides help provide a bit of context to the more visual … Continue reading

The state of digital

A long but comprehensive ‘state of digital world’ presentation from Business Insider. The future of digital from Useful Ideas

Culture and utility

Re-reading a chapter in Marshall Sahlins’ Culture and Practical Reason, Le Penseé Bourgoisie today I could have cited multiple chunks of though-provoking writing. Instead, here’s a simple passage outlining, in brief, the argument of the book.

Feeding the City

Next time you stand in front of the refrigerated fixture at Pret a Manger pondering the choice of Ham & Gruyere or Line Caught Tuna baguettes, feel a little envious for those who, in Mumbai, get to consume home made … Continue reading

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