Ethical Issue Spotting as Bird-watching

By | May 28, 2024

I quite enjoyed this short video from Google, about the challenge of spotting ethical issues when developing AI applications and, for that matter, applications in XR and other emerging technologies.  The challenge is that while it’s relatively easy for groups to define ethical principles that they plan to operate by, it’s much harder to actually… Read More »

2023 has been a long, hard year

By | December 10, 2023

I haven’t posted here much in the last year and a half. First and foremost among the reasons for this are stress and emotional disarray due to the illness and death of my parents; my mother on May 4 2023, and then my father on November 27 2023. Other unfortunate circumstances included 9 months of… Read More »

Interactive Explainer – Mechanical Watch

By | July 7, 2022

Read a really fantastic explainer article last night about mechanical watches. Aside from explaining a complex technical object in a clear and easy to understand way, the article stands out by its use of small interactive 3D scenes to demonstrate the physics and interactions between various elements of the mechanism. Definitely worth a look for… Read More »

Elvis Trump

By | July 7, 2022

I asked Dall-E Mini for “Donald Trump dressed as Elvis Presley”. The results were … distressing. For those who haven’t played with it yet, go to and type in something fun (or horrifying). The AI will then attempt to create an image of your idea.

Boxes – the Movie

By | August 17, 2021

I woke up this morning from a rather strange dream. It was framed as a movie trailer about a warehouse manager who tried to attain world peace by giving people cardboard boxes to play with, as if we’re all cats and babies. There was a moment where this character, played by Jim Carrey, suddenly exclaimed… Read More »

On Racist Violence in the US

By | May 29, 2020

Cross-posting from my Facebook wall, for posterity. This morning, I wrote the following: I don’t want to comment on current affairs and specific events because I don’t know enough and my analytical nature isn’t welcome when emotions are raw. I’ll just say this: I stand in solidarity with the fight for justice and with anyone… Read More »

How to balance saving lives with the economy

By | April 20, 2020

How do we choose between economic losses and the likelihood of people dying in a pandemic? Is that even a moral question to contemplate? Like it or not, it’s something we have to think about now. The classic approach is to come up with a Value of Statistical Life figure, basically the amount that society… Read More »

Bumblebees are great

By | March 20, 2020

Turns out that bumblebees can do a lot for us in addressing the pollination crisis, where threats to honeybee populations are making it harder and harder to pollinate certain crops. Like fruit? Well, many fruit trees won’t bear fruit unless their flowers are pollinated. You’re going to need bees! When I was a kid, I… Read More »

Ref – SARS-CoV-2 survival on surfaces and in aerosol

By | March 19, 2020

Wondering how long the SARS-CoV-2 virus persists in the environment? The media’s been pretty vague, but this recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine is much more helpful. It shows that the virus is detectable up to 48 hours after exposure on many surfaces, particularly plastic and steel. It’s less stable on cardboard,… Read More »