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Showing posts from June, 2020

Supernormal Stimuli

In my new book, Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose , I describe how human instincts, for food, sex, or territorial protection, developed for life on the Savannah 10,000 years ago, not today's world of densely populated cities and technological innovations. Evolution has been unable to keep pace with the rapid changes of modern life. In the 1930s Dutch Nobel laureate Niko Tinbergen found that birds that lay small, pale blue eggs speckled with grey preferred to sit on giant, bright blue plaster dummies with black polka dots. He coined the term "supernormal stimuli" to describe these imitations that appeal to primitive instincts and, oddly, exert a stronger attraction than real things. We humans can produce our own supernormal stimuli: candy, pornography, huge-eyed stuffed animals. The concept of Supernormal Stimuli has enormous power to illuminate the alarming disconnect between human instinct and our created environment. [ Deirdre

The Fixed Period

The Fixed Period has been so far discussed as to make it almost unnecessary for me to explain its tenets, though its advantages may require a few words of argument in a world that is at present dead to its charms. It consists altogether of the abolition of the miseries, weakness, and fainéant imbecility of old age, by the prearranged ceasing to live of those who would otherwise become old. Need I explain how extreme are those sufferings, and how great the costliness of that old age which is unable in any degree to supply its own wants? Such old age should not be allowed to be. This should be prevented, in the interests both of the young and of those who do become old when obliged to linger on after their “period” of work is over. Oh, it is an adamantine law to protect the human race from the imbecility, the weakness, the discontent, and the extravagance of old age! [Anthony Trollope (1882), The Fixed Period]

Prepare To Be Cancelled

A striking event was the way in which Premier League footballers, reopening the season in empty stadiums, wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan of the new universal Left, 'Black Lives Matter'. All, along with the referee and match officials, also 'took the knee', the sign of obeisance to the new ideology. As far as I know, none of those involved had any qualms about this. But if they had done, would they have dared express them, if they wished to continue in professional football? Would the world have praised their conscientious courage, or would they have been hosed down with claims that they were 'racists' and then 'cancelled'? You know the answer as you ask the question. Who doesn't think black lives matter? But that is not what these displays mean. They are about particular ways of holding those views, ways which lead relentlessly to intolerance of dissent, to the enforcement – by threats to the livelihoods of dissenters – of a single set of acc


Humans are primarily driven by their emotions. Jonathan Haidt, in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Vintage, 2013), uses the metaphor of an elephant and its rider to describe how the human mind works. The elephant represents the emotion part of the human brain. It makes most of the decisions. The rider represents the rational part of the brain. It can sometimes influence the elephant, but it mostly provides justifications for the elephant's decisions. [Chris Richardson (2018), Microservices Patterns]

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

[review of the book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), by Douglas Murray] "We all live in the campus now". In the 1960's, a group of US based intellectuals championed by Laclau, Foucault and McIntosh started a new movement against Western civilisation that today still isn't clearly defined: cultural-marxism, social justice warriors, intersectionality, post-modernism, woke… The point is that Western society is terribly oppressive, and has a face of a White Cis Male, and only by politicising and weaponising the basic identities of an individual (race, gender, sexuality) it can be overthrown. Douglas Murray made a terrific investigation job and trough a series of events, where he puts names, places, institutions, dates, we can understand how the fight for equality is in fact a fight for "equal, but better": gay couples are better that straight ones raising a child; black people work harder than privileged whites; only a female leader ca


Whereas black studies celebrates black writers and black history, and gay studies brings out gay figures from history and pushes them to the fore, ‘whiteness studies’ is far from a celebratory study. Its aim is that it is committed to disrupting racism by problematizing whiteness. So whereas every other field of race studies is performed in a spirit of celebration the aim of this one must be to ‘problematize’ hundreds and hundreds of millions of people. Of course it might be said that defining an entire group of people, their attitudes, pitfalls and moral associations, based solely on their racial characteristics is itself a fairly good demonstration of racism. For ‘whiteness’ to be problematized’ white people must be shown to be a problem. [The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), Douglas Murray]

Metro Ligeiro de Superfície entre Algés e Falagueira

[2004] – O metro ligeiro de superfície Algés – Falagueira é um meio de transporte mais rápido e com um orçamento menos elevado na sua construção do que o metro subterrâneo actualmente explorado em Lisboa. A nova infra-estrutura visa reforçar a mobilidade na área ocidental da Grande Lisboa pelo que contempla ligações com as linhas ferroviárias de Cascais e de Sintra. A ligação ao Metropolitano será igualmente possível, na Falagueira. A linha Algés – Falagueira contempla 15 paragens: Algés (interface com a estação da CP), Algés-Centro, Algés-Norte, Algés-Miraflores, Miraflores, Outurela, Quinta do Paizinho, Bairro do Zambujal, Alfragide, Alfragide/IC19, Damaia, Damaia (interface com a estação da CP), Venda Nova, Venda Nova Norte, Falagueira (interface com a linha azul do Metro). A distância média entre cada paragem é de 530 metros e o tempo de viagem será de cerca de vinte minutos. O investimento global no metro ligeiro de superfície que irá ligar os concelhos de Oeiras e Amadora e

Selar Lisboa

Esta linha circular do metropolitano é o coroar da estratégia do Manuel Salgado para Lisboa: um núcleo central com forte concentração de terciário e habitação de luxo (Eixo Central e Avenidas Novas), a que se juntam a Baixa, as colinas históricas e a frente ribeirinha, para usufruto dos turistas e residência de estrangeiros endinheirados. Fora desta cidade para os ricos e os turistas, ficam os bairros municipais, a classe média e os “enclaves” da população trabalhadora de menores recursos que ainda resiste à expulsão para as periferias. Estamos assim perante uma cidade cada vez mais dual, onde a linha circular do metropolitano só vem favorecer, acelerando, o processo de gentrificação e turisficação de Lisboa. Ao mesmo tempo deixa para as calendas gregas o serviço a bairros populares que continuam mal servidos de transportes coletivos. [Fernando Nunes da Silva, antigo vereador da Mobilidade da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, SOL , 2018] “Numa visão de futuro”, o vereador Manuel Salgado, re