Category: Daily Telegraph

I’m not saying Greenfield’s a pseudoscientist. I point to her pseudoscientific reasoning. That is all


Like a good sharknado, Susan Greenfield is (a) ridiculous and (b) back for more.

We all remember this defence of her claim that internet use causes autism, don’t we?

I point to the increase in autism and I point to internet use. That is all.

Well, whoopy do. On that basis, Russia’s annexation of Crimea was responsible for loom bands. Obviously.

As a reminder, Greenfield’s schtick is as follows: according to her, social networks — the internet kind — cause brain damage. Now such phrasing sounds like a jokey summary of something more nuanced. However, it’s pretty much everything in a nutshell.

But while Greenfield is an expert in treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, she has no expertise or training in sociocultural factors that actually cause brain damage. In other words, she knows X but doesn’t know Y. She knows how to get the milk into the tea, but it doesn’t logically follow that she can get it back out again.

Also, she has no expertise or training in autism. Or in developmental psychology more generally. Or in psychological assessment and diagnosis. Or for that matter, in internet behaviour, sociology, engineering, or any relevant field.

Here’s a general tip for all you logic fans out there: knowing a lot about X doesn’t mean that you’ll know anything at all about Y. Alan Hansen knows a lot about where right-backs should stand when defending set-pieces in football. However, I wouldn’t rely on him to flash a custom ROM onto my Xperia ZL. Continue reading “I’m not saying Greenfield’s a pseudoscientist. I point to her pseudoscientific reasoning. That is all”

“Should we ditch the meal and go out with these boys?”

Stephen Hawking encounters a stag-do in Cambridge:

Picture: The Telegraph/SWNS

Picture: The Telegraph/SWNS

From The Telegraph:

Chris Hallam, 29, and ten friends…turned a corner and bumped into Stephen Hawking getting out of his car. And they were stunned when the Brief History of Time author agreed to pose with them for a souvenir photo. Mr Hallam, a self-employed builder from Norwich, said: “We only came across Professor Hawking because we were lost. We were just looking for a bar and spotted him getting out of his car. His son was with him and asking him ‘Should we ditch the meal and go out with these boys?'”

In case you’re wondering, all the guys are dressed as Bananaman (it’s a British thing), a comic-book hero famous for possessing “the muscles of twenty men, and the brains of twenty mussels.”

Only twenty mussels, though. I bet Stephen Hawking is smarter than that.

How to Survive a Plane Crash (Non-survival also a possibility)


I’m travelling to China in the morning, on some university work in Hong Kong and Shantou. It takes two days to travel between here and there, and I’ll be away for 8 days. So yes, I’ll be spending half my time in transit. I’ve been doing some preparatory reading. Here’s a nice piece from today’s Huffington Post: How to Survive a Plane Crash.”

Essentially, the steps are easy to follow:

1. Keep Your Shoes and Socks On

For fear that you might need to “run over sharp debris and fire” no less. Running over fire? Doesn’t sound good. Continue reading “How to Survive a Plane Crash (Non-survival also a possibility)”

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