Monday, May 27, 2019

Hardly Simple

The word association between simple, simpleton and simplistic is psychologically indelible. It is, however, mystifying how a word that means easy is often conflated with being foolish and shallow, in that order. Sometimes, simple is also wilfully alternated with cheap and unsophisticated. Does this perhaps explain why technology companies, for instance, embraced the banal word user-friendly in the 1970s, rather than describe their products as easy to use?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Coming Revolution

Two of the world’s most celebrated works of art, David and the Pietà, were sculpted at the turn of the 16th century by Michelangelo, the Florentine outlier. Michelangelo chipped away at massive blocks of Tuscany marble like an ordinary artisan wielding a hammer and chisel. However, only an extraordinarily gifted artist could have divined such masterpieces.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ma Lessons

As a mental puzzle, I wonder how much time an average person spends each day thinking about nothing. For the next couple of minutes, I urge you not to switch off because I will, in fact, be writing about nothing.  

Broadly, and depending on the context, nothing is analogous to zero, empty, void, or zilch. Of the lot, perhaps none has a more colourful history than zero which, paradoxically, was invented to fill a mathematical void.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Energy Blues

Former US President Richard Nixon, a hard-boiled conservative, signed the landmark Clean Air Act (1970 CAA) into law nearly half a century ago. Today, his fellow Republicans are contemptuous of scientific evidence for human-induced climate change. And long before the party’s 2008 vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, threw red meat to her base by sneering Drill, Baby, Drill, a would-be American anarchist, Bill Epton, had coined the street-level battle cry Burn, Baby, Burn.