Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Imagine you are expecting a pay-rise at work, and then you open your wage slip and find that instead of the £3.5k raise you were expecting you got an increase of £12.5k per year.

This is obviously a mistake, and one that should be easily noticed at the next salary review...

Would you own up ASAP?  I think the key phrase here is "plausible deniability" - if it transpired you knew of the mistake and didn't say anything then that would probably be construed as gross misconduct.

Not quite sure if I could pull off the plausible deniability thing... my boss certainly knows I am not hanging on for pay-day and accounting for every penny, and I could stop opening my payslips from now on so if challenged I could show them unopened "except for the one I opened last night to verify I was getting too much".  Probably worth the risk - if I was suddenly asked to leave they'd be fucked anyway so the worst they could really do is get me to pay it back.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


 Whether I get bored easily or not is a complicated question to answer.  Ex girlfriends have commented on how annoying my habit of constantly flicking TV channels is - a channel will have been on for 10 minutes, and perhaps even be approaching an exciting reveal, and I'll get a sense of boredom and flick to another channel.
If I don't like a task, I simply can't concentrate on it; for example, when others were revising for final exams I simply stopped drinking and taking drugs, and went jogging (to ensure my mind was working), as I knew I would only be able to get the bare minimum of revision done.  I was lucky I was studying a subject that was more understanding than knowledge.  
I don't, however, have a problem concentrating on something to which I want to give my attention.

The sort of boredom I want to talk about now though is more of a life existentialist boredom.  Sometimes I feel like everything I do is simply a distraction from the banality of life.  I feel like I'm doing the same boring shit, and so I do something exciting.  I've taken up hang-gliding, rock climbing, and ju-jitsu to name a few of the more transient activities I've taken up; I've even flown a fighter-jet!  And then, of course there are the everyday distractions such as going out drinking, clubbing, having sex, going for middle-of-the-night walks with my lockpicks...

Unfortunately, on occasion I get meta-boredom - where I feel like even though the new exciting thing designed to distract and entertain me is still part of the same boring equation: feel life is boring + new thing = temporary respite.  That feeling I get knowing I am repeating that same loop again and again is the most boring of feelings of boredom.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Stroop test

1.  Time how long it takes for you to read the black words at a normal pace - this is the control time.
2.  Time yourself saying the colours of the coloured words, not the words themselves.  e.g. for 'Red' say "Blue". 
3.  If you take more than 10s longer than the control time you may have an attention deficit problem.

If you make a mistake have another go at that word.  If you make more than a couple in total you are going too fast - start over and take enough care over it to get them all right.  If you have so many do-overs that you start to remember the sequence, change the order - row by row / column by column / left to right / right to left / down / up.

 scroll down
                \    |    /
                  \  |  /

Friday, 1 July 2011


Can animals be villains?  I've heard of heroic dogs and horses (and military medals of bravery have even been awarded to pigeons!) but I've never heard of a villainous animal.  

Villainy is a hard concept to tie down, so perhaps it's best to first think of evil - are there evil animals?  Of course, some people needlessly view the ways of an entire species or family, usually a reptile, as evil - but to tar a whole group of animals as evil must surely be to dilute the meaning of the word so much as to be meaningless.


Intelligent animals can certainly lie.  There are troops of monkeys that forage on the jungle floor, and if one spots something juicy in someone else's patch they occasionally give a warning call that sends everyone into the trees - leaving them free to go get it.
More obvious lies have been told by chimps and gorillas that have been taught sign language - and seem as prone to fibbing as most humans, though the lies are typically less devious.  In one famous example there was a gorilla called Koko who had a pet kitten.  Koko had a fit of temper in the night and ripped a heavy steel sink off the wall; when asked what happened, Koko pointed to the kitten and signed "cat did it".

Is it such a long way from the simple lies of gorillas to the deceptive games of human villains?  We are all animals and the forces of nature and nurture are powerful ones indeed - so how accountable is anyone?  I like to ask people who believe in the devil if he could repent and be good again.  It perplexes them as they have to either give up on the idea he has free-will and therefore that he is evil (these seem intertwined), or give up on their belief he is fated to be the head evil dude forever.

Villains add to the rich tapestry of life and help create bonds in society - nothing brings people together more than a common enemy - that's why the highest sense of nationalism is in times of war.
So in conclusion, I've waffled and digressed a bit, and I had no clue where I was going when I started writing this, but it is past 3am so forgive me - I hope you just have some food for thought :)