The Darwin dilemma: on greatness, and the game of chance

I recently had the pleasure to take a trip to the home of Charles Darwin, Down House, a lovely residence near Orpington in Kent. In the first of my research blogs series, I would like to take a closer at the life of Darwin the man, and what the extraordinary circumstances of Darwin’s rise to greatness tells us about the world we live in. Continue reading »

‘Unflattening’ by Nick Sousanis – Review

As a comic book fan and budding philosopher, I was intrigued to learn about the publication of Unflattening by Nick Sousanis – a graphic novel that claims to question the ‘primacy of words over images’ – to counteract the ‘flatness’ that pervades (Western) society and teach us ‘how to access modes of understanding beyond what we normally apprehend’.

Clearly the book has some lofty aspirations, but does it live up to its own hype? Continue reading »

Should press releases include hyperlinks?

There’s been some debate in the office recently over whether press releases should include hyperlinks. Opinion seems to fall quite firmly into one of two camps: on the one hand there are those who believe that press releases should be link-free as ‘that’s how it’s always been done’, and those who think that links are essential in the modern connected world. I’ve outlined the main arguments of the two camps below:

The NO camp

  • Press releases are the purest form of news; they exist in objective isolation, and it is up to the journalist to decide how to use them.
  • The release should ‘sell itself’.
  • We’ve never included links before, so why change now?

The YES camp

  • Hyperlinks make a journalist’s job that little bit easier.
  • Links can be used to add information or value to a release.
  • We live in a digital world, and we should adapt our processes accordingly.

So which side is right? Is there a right or wrong answer? I would argue that there is a ‘right’ answer here, and that a balance can, and indeed should, be struck between the two camps. This all comes back to the question of ‘what is news?’, and the even more fundamental question of ‘what is a press release for?’ – why are we sending out a press release in the first place, and how is it consumed by the people who receive it? Continue reading »

Micro-fascism, Facebook and the General Election

There’s been a General Election on here in the UK – have you heard?

Most of my Facebook wall today is full of people rightly or wrongly basking in the failure of UKIP in the election. Now, I’m not a UKIP supporter, but there are some interesting points we can take from this that link to the work of critical theorists such as Deleuze, Guattari and Badiou among others. Continue reading »