From Kevin Fong’s BBC Horizon programme:
For a truth-seeker, the key question must be how sure you can be that you, at the moment, are substantially more likely to have a truth-seeking, in-control, rational core than the people you now disagree with. This is because if either of you have some substantial degree of meta-rationality, then your relative intelligence and information are largely irrelevant except as they may indicate which of you is more likely to be self-deceived about being meta-rational.
It helps to, from time to time, take a step back and realise how fortunate we find ourselves to be today.
Scientists reported today that human beings in the 1800 had lifespans that were closer to the earliest hunter-gatherer humans than they would to adult men in the rich countries today.
Put another way: Hunter-gatherers at the age of 40 would have the same odds of dying has a Japanese man at 72 today.
Human mortality, he added, has shown itself to be far more “plastic” and capable of manipulation than anyone had imagined.
Chip Scanlan’s tips on writing:
1. Lower your standards
2. Get something done
3. Swallow the bile on your first draft
4. Print out early
5. Read aloud
6. Apply critical standards
In an excellent article Robert Cottrell makes a smart point about online writing:
It helps, too, that when you’re writing online, there’s no need to introduce and source every person, place and fact you mention, and no need to fill in the backstory for those new to the subject. You can link out to the source document or the related story – or just assume your reader knows how to use Google and Wikipedia.
It is very annoying to read articles that have too many hyperlinks. I think a thumb rule for hyperlinks should be: use no more than 1 hyperlink per 200 words.
PS: In case you can’t read the linked FT article, try this.