Digital balance

In the FT Weekend magazine this week, Tim Harford has set out his experiences with ‘rebooting’ his relationships with digital media and platforms. He logged out of Facebook and Twitter, closed down or deleted a wide range of distracting apps from his phone and carefully monitored how he used other information tools. I found his account of the benefits accrued and how he has sought to find a proper balance of what he really needs to connect to (he is an author and column writer after all) and what he can dispense with, insightful and very helpful; I have been doing something similar for around a month now.

New year evolution

I am not one for too many resolutions and definitely not keen on revolutions. Revolutions are always driven by the idea that there is an idealised utopia available and achievable, but which can only be reached by destruction of all the values of the past. Nothing is ever simple in this way. Life is full of complex relationships, promises, commitments, desires and motivations.

Logic 2: formal and informal systems, applied ideas

Formal systems, studied by logicians, mathematicians, philosophers and others, are (usually) characterised by a specified and restricted set of symbols, rules for making statements from those symbols, plus rules for generating new statements. So from these basic rules and instructions, statements can be generated that are regarded as products of the system; they are called theorems.

The meaning of ‘life’ and the meaning of life

I recently had a discussion with a friend about whether there could be life on Venus. I contended, rather dogmatically, that there could not, based on our current theories about how biological life is understood and the limits that there might be on the biochemical complexity possible in the universe. My friend replied that we do not know what forms that life could take in the rest of the universe and I could not possibly make such a claim. It occurred to me later that we were both right, but also that each of us had weaknesses in what we were saying.