Please Stop Retweeting Without Verifying


If you've been on Twitter for any length of time, you'll have seen dozens of plaintive requests like this. The same happens with missing people, lost dogs, and urgent political causes. Yes, it can be a little annoying to see the same thing again and again - but it's all for a good cause, right? […] Read More

The Solar Solstice


As regular readers know, we've installed solar panels on our house in Oxford. The panels were originally installed on 17th December 2013 - that's pretty close to the winter solstice, where the UK experiences the lowest hours of sunlight. Today is the summer solstice. Time for Druids to dance around Stonehenge as we celebrate the […] Read More

Humin - A Zombie Idea


If you ever listen to the wonderful More or Less podcast, you'll have heard the term "Zombie Statistic." It relates to stats which are factually incorrect - yet keep being circulated. Despite being disproved, they rear their ugly heads again and again. You probably know a few - men think about sex every 7 seconds, […] Read More

Pareidolia and Computer Vision


Humans are pretty spectacular at image recognition. We have a seemingly innate ability to look at an image and tell if it is that of a human face - even if it has been severely distorted. Occasionally though, the software in our brains is a little too eager to see a face. This phenomenon is […] Read More

Laziness and Capitalism


We moved house recently. It's always fun to see what choices the previous owners made - orange paint in the bedroom? Yeuch! While some choices are purely subjective - those light fittings? - other choices are simply illogical. Let's take water meters. Anyone in the UK can get a water meter fitted for free. The […] Read More

Dark Patterns - Opt-Out / Opt-In


Hanlon's Razor states, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." It would be nice to think that all mistakes and errors we encounter are just the result of bone-headedness. Sadly, that's not the case. Quite often malicious people deliberately try to trick you into taking actions you would normally have ignored. […] Read More