My five year old sits at the table, pencil in hand, forming letters on the page. Most are clear enough, although his s’s, p’s and d’s are often reversed. He’s trying to remember to use full stops.

I’m constantly amazed that he is learning to read and write. I probably shouldn’t be.

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After retiring from a career on the fringes of 1930s British academia, Lewis Fry Richardson was ready to indulge his passion for the mathematics of war. He wanted to test a theory that the incidence of conflict between countries is systematically related to the length of their common borders. Continue reading

In his 16th century essay on books, the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne set down his opinions on various writers, philosophers and poets, and was surprisingly candid about not ‘getting’ some works regarded as great by the experts.

It could be the result of keeping an unreasonably tidy house while it was on the market, or moving into a terrace with no wardrobe; or it could be the mountains of things that attach themselves to my children. Whatever the cause, lately I have been in the grip of a decluttering frenzy. Continue reading

Living for the future is what our social system encourages: it promises ‘the good life’ and we work for its goals. This article considers how we can apply the concept of flow to improve our lives today.

Does the quality of our day to day experiences matter in the long run? Psychologist Daniel Kahneman considers this question in ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ where he distinguishes between the experiencing self and the remembering self.