All Time Best Eigenvectors

Brief intro to eigenvectorsI'm not going to tell you what an eigenvector is, mostly because 3Blue1Brown already did a better job. On the other hand, if you know what an eigenvector is mathematically, but you're not sure what they're for, why they might be interesting, and why particularly depraved mathematicians…

Journalism 102: Why now?

A friend of mine who used to work as a journalist told me that the mark of proper journalism is graduating from the simple questions - what? where? when? - to the level above - why this? why here? why now? Case in point: lately Boris Johnson has been in…

Bridges and Rivers

I've been thinking about emergent properties lately, the way complex patterns can emerge from simple rules. In particular I've been thinking about bridges and rivers, the way cities pop up around them and divide across them. In all of Europe there are only a handful of capital cities not built…

Ways To Write Bad Plays

Through a series of questionable decisions I have written and directed four plays. In that time I learned a small amount about how to write good plays, and far, far more about how to write bad plays. And now I'm going to tell you how. Trap The Audience And Gradually…

Lazy Objections to Ethical Queerness

What you are taught in a philosophy degree, I was disappointed to discover, is not the deep philosophical truths of the world, but rather how to argue about philosophy. Sadly often, this is a matter of memorising stock arguments and counterarguments. If you want to get good at cutting through…

Clones: An Opportunity?

What this is not: an exhortation to dig up Von Neumann and clone him What this is: an exhortation to think seriously about how to decide whether to dig up Von Neumann and clone him Having tried to clarify that I am not presently advocating for cloning, and am far…