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How blindly we adopted a term that someone somewhere mooted to describe a very new situation, without questioning the underlying concept. Social distancing is the culprit. The term 'social distance' is usually measured by the amount of social contact between groups. So not measurement by metres but by the extent to which people from different...

"It will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world so simply that any individual can carry and operate his own apparatus." Before reading further, take a guess at when this quote was published. You'd be forgiven for placing it just before the 'wireless revolution' of the 1990s. In fact, Nikola Tesla suggested this in 1909...

A few blogs ago, close on the heels of perhaps the most (in)famous footballer of his generation, I wrote about the influence of numbers on our way of thinking. Now, with COVID-19 vaccines in the spotlight, and the very recent name change for one that has been beset by controversy, I turn my attention to the way names and their...

In October 2020, Australian rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released the separate audio components of the song Automation, a fairly opaque riff on human reliance on machines. The explicit instruction was for fans to create remixes and upload these to YouTube. YouTube had other ideas: its automated copyright detection system compared the...

In 1980 The Buggles came up with the one-hit single, Video Killed the Radio Star, a kind of lament for the old and the heralding of the new. The lyric "rewritten by machine and new technology" was not only a sign of the times but a foretaste of the digital age to come. Yet nobody could have predicted, despite...

Downing Street, Pelé, Diego Armando Maradona, the basis of the metric system, fingers and toes, scores and ratings. 10 is a bit of a common denominator for the way we organise things, and often a number synonymous in sport with the 'playmaker'. To wear the number 10 shirt somehow sets one apart. The death of a genius on 25 November got me thinking....

Whether it's a matter of jumping on the bandwagon or not, Spotify recognises the new norm, working from home, and has compiled 186 tracks to help you through the day(s): Work from Home with British Classics. Starting with a 44-second divertimento for flute, oboe and clarinet, a kind of classical wake-up jingle, and ending with a 30-minute trumpet...

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