Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting to know digital better

You know, people often ask me "Adam, how on Earth do you get so clever about all things digital". If you were to ask me, I'd probably say:

Don’t Make Me Think by Krugg, obviously.
• Sign up to the e-consultancy newsletter (think requires becoming a basic/free member) and read stuff like Inexpensive tips to improve usability
• Some cute Flash games:
• Review award-winning digital work like BIMAs awards (I stole one, once).
• Get a copy of Revolution mag; read their site; follow them on Twitter
• Wider picture at Economist Technology Quarterly: e.g. this on off/online gaming
• Same for Guardian’s relevant bit each week:

But bigger than all that is: stop reading, start doing. It’s called interactive for a reason. Start a blog, start tweeting (and follow me), make yourself a 1-page website, share your shots on Flickr, buy an iPhone, explore the Facebook features you’ve always ignored, start a conversation on a YouTube channel, ask a question to your network on LinkedIn, edit an article on Wikipedia – any article!, choose a group and turn up one night, create a Google maps mashup of past pet’s resting places, charge $1 a pixel for your homepage, start a new social movement. Get involved! That’s learning.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Blair and humanism

Blair speaking at the US National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC:

"Neither do I decry the work of humanists, who give gladly of themselves for others and who can often shame the avowedly religious. Those who do God's work are God's people.

I only say that there are limits to humanism and beyond those limits God and only God can work. The phrase "fear of God" conjures up the vengeful God of parts of the Old Testament. But "fear of God" means really obedience to God; humility before God; acceptance through God that there is something bigger, better and more important than you. It is that humbling of man's vanity, that stirring of conscience through God's prompting, that recognition of our limitations, that faith alone can bestow.

We can perform acts of mercy, but only God can lend them dignity. We can forgive, but only God forgives completely in the full knowledge of our sin. And only through God comes grace; and it is God's grace that is unique."

In recognising the positive contribution of humanists, Blair is ahead of the curve (along with Obama).

Humanism is limited, agree: indeed that lends it the 'humility' he later claims it is missing.

You do not need God to understand there is something bigger. The Universe is amazing, utterly huge, sublime. I'm nothing within it. Faith is not alone in bestowing such an understanding: most episodes of Dr. Who do a decent job.

It's exactly this kind of deference to a supernatural being that, were I visiting in a flying saucer from another planet, would make me hit 'reverse' and come back in another 1000 years to see if this fair race has understood anything yet. On this evidence we have but the faintest grasp on knowledge.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Politics in Gaza

"Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of the global humanitarian group Care International, said it was not a time for politics.

"Fifty per cent of the population in Gaza are under the age of 18; they're not interested in the politics in this, they want to go to school and play football like my son. "

- BBC News

Politics is somehow optional is it? Who are these people that think you can brush aside all the complexities of an issue by avoiding 'the politics' (so that you agree with their position). They work for an international NGO. Shocking naivety.

The answer is more and better politics, not trying to wish the politics out of existence.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What piece of work is a man!

What piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.

Full speech

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MPs should publish their full expenses

Dear Frank Dobson,

I am writing to urge you to vote against the draft Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 this Thursday. Additionally, please sign Jo Swinson’s Early Day Motion number 492.

I want Parliament to be more open, not less: this motion is in the wrong direction. I note that addresses of MPs will not be published (SI 2008/1967).

Public servants must account for their expenses: all of them. I work in the private sector and have to provide a receipt whether its 50p or £50. That information is made available to the person paying for it. The same principle applies; I strongly feel that this 'balance' being introduced (or rather not prevented from being introduced) into our democracy will lead to greater responsibility with taxpayers' money.

I don't doubt your personal integrity on this matter Mr. Dobson, but there are clear signs that others in that chamber make questionable decisions on spending. That information should be available so the public can judge it for themselves.

I will be tracking your and other MPs votes via TheyWorkForYou and will perceive a vote for this motion or an abstention as a vote against transparency, which will contribute to my voting decision at the next election.

Yours sincerely,


Location in London, from space

Obamania gets serious

More pics and updates on the inauguration today

It's finally happening. Eight years to the day of George W. Bush - finally coming to an end.

Maybe now the human race can get back on track?

Friday, January 16, 2009

A letter to David Miliband MP

Rt. Hon David Miliband MP - Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary

Re: This ship and Gaza

I urge immediate action to stop arms shipments en route to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza and agree a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups to help ensure that weapons will not be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law.

I learn that a German-owned container ship the Wehr Elbe, is currently transporting some 989 CONTAINERS of US munitions en route to Israel. It was heading to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza but at the time of writing its status is unclear. The weapons are still on the ship and they must not be allowed to be unloaded for use in the deadly conflict in Gaza.

This vast consignment of weapons could be delivered at any time in the next few days. A further consignment of an additional 325 containers of weapons, likely to include White Phosphorous, was due to be shipped from Askatos in Greece to Israel. This ship was last spotted off the port of Askatos on 12th January 2009. I urge to you take all possible diplomatic measures to stop these and pending and future shipments to any of the parties to this current conflict .

I am also concerned about recent reports that UK arms components may be used in military equipment used by the Israeli armed forces. Specifically, it would appear that a UK company may have provided engines for Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs). Such pilot-less drone Aircraft have been widely used by Israeli forces to help target bombs, aircraft and helicopter attacks in Lebanon and Gaza. It is vital that the UK does not license components that could be used in the current conflict

I encourage your personal support for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The need for such a treaty remains pressing and urgent. As a champion of the ATT, it is vital that the UK’s own arms export controls are sufficiently tough and that all necessary action is taken to prevent arms fueling the current crisis in Gaza.

Yours in hope,


» Now write your own

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Atheist bus launches!

"You wait ages for an atheist bus, then 800 come along at once" - comedy writer Ariane Sherine, behind the campaign.

£135000, 800 UK buses, 1000 tube ads and 2 animated signs.


Watch the BBC video

Full details are here:,3494,Atheists-launch-bus-ad-campaign,BBC

Monday, January 05, 2009

Some Humanist thoughts..

..kindly provided by GALHA (can't easily reference source):

"Nietzsche urged us to “remain true to the Earth, and believe not those who advise a hope above the world.” In this worldliness lies the key to secular spirituality. The sacred and the spiritual are to be found in the virtues, values, and creative capacities within each and every one of us, right here on Earth.

For too long, we have accepted a false dichotomy between that which is mundane, earthly, and human, and that which is high, heavenly, and divine. The sacred has always been exiled to another world or dimension. But we exist here and now, in a specific space and time, and not in some eternal, otherworldly, Platonic realm. As philosopher Benedetto Croce put it, “Eternity is in the moment for those who know how to place it there.”

Properly understood, then, the spiritual is that which pertains to our human capacities for understanding, self-awareness, free will, and moral responsibility. And the sense of the sacred comes from realizing our own potential and striving for the best within us."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dear Lord Attlee

"Dear Lord Attlee,

I note you recently mentioned the '' website during a
speech in the Lords. You wanted to test whether people are watching -
and seemed disappointed at the lack of direct response to previous
publication of your details.

I just wanted praise your knowledge of the mySociety services such as - and confirm that real people do use them and watch
what's going on!

While I'm here, may I request you continue to block ID cards, reassess
your attitude toward the hunting ban but continue to support laws aimed
at preventing climate change. The main thing of course is to vote toward
equal gay rights when the matter comes up, which you've neglected to do
so far. Perhaps it's because you're a Conservative:
no-one's perfect.

Yours sincerely,


Earl Attlee replied:

"Yes but at least we supported most of the Civil Partnerships Act!"