The Plastic Hippo

November 17, 2015

Singing in the lifeboats

Filed under: Faith,Media,Politics,Rights,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 3:01 am
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Image credit Philippe Wojazer via Reuters

Image credit Philippe Wojazer via Reuters

François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, was born in Paris in 1694 and died in Paris at the ripe old age of 83. Frequently exiled or banged up in the Bastille for having a pop at the Church, the Monarchy; the State and just about anything else that smacked of hypocrisy, Voltaire was at the centre of the Enlightenment and gave voice to the beginnings of the French Republic. Now considered to be a national hero, he has a splendid Haussmann designed avenue named in his honour.

Exactly 250 years ago and about 25 years before the start of the French Revolution, Voltaire published an essay critical of organised religion called “Questions sur les Miracles”. In it, he said:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” (more…)

August 29, 2015

Dystopia

Filed under: History,Politics,Rights — theplastichippo @ 3:30 am
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voxpoliticalonline.com

voxpoliticalonline.com

There are marginally fewer books and films depicting the future breakdown of civilisation than there are infinite possibilities in a multiverse that can only be explained using string theory via the voice box of Stephen Hawking. It was Thomas More who coined the word “Utopia” way back in 1516 and was subsequently separated from his head by an unhappy Henry VIII. A mere 350 years later, no less than John Stuart Mill came up with the antonym “Dystopia” to describe a very bad government. (more…)

March 2, 2015

#Я Борис Немцов

Filed under: Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 5:00 am
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Nemtsov image via Sergei Ilnitsky-EPA

Nemtsov image via Sergei Ilnitsky-EPA

The really big problem with attempting to convey a really big idea is the necessity to form a really meaningless sound bite or, in this increasingly digital age, a stupid hash tag. The reduction of collective human intelligence to a bullet point is, however, nothing new. Some might point to Plato with his syllogistic “all men are mortal” meme or to Rene Descartes who proclaimed “cogito ergo sum”. It is worth pointing out at this point that Plato and Descartes are long dead and so are probably indifferent to “likes” or “RTs” on social media. My advice is to find out about stuff before you endorse things that might or might not be true. (more…)

August 17, 2014

Bright young things

Via Getty Images

Via Getty Images

There has been some rather lurid speculation that a small group of Old Etonians are formulating the manner, style and objectives of government but this conspiracy theory is as unbelievable as the outrageous allegations made against famous, white, wealthy middle-aged men and their innocent leisure activities. The power does not derive from Eton but from a little way up the M40 amid the dreaming spires of Oxford.

As sinister Conservative grandees, ambitious cabinet ministers, a scheming opposition and powerful media figures connive, plot and sharpen knives to see who will inherit Cameron`s mess, it is tertiary education rather than an elitist private school than is informing policy. When Boris Johnson was questioned about his feelings that David Cameron achieved a first but he was awarded a lesser degree, the Mayor of London helpfully pointed out that his degree was in Classics and Cameron`s degree was in the “Mickey Mouse” subject of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Boris seemed to infer that a PPE from Oxford carried as much gravitas as a degree in Media Studies from the University of Oakham and Greater Rutland. (more…)

July 8, 2014

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Filed under: Health,Media,Music,Society — theplastichippo @ 1:00 am
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Hello? What? Yes I`ve tried that.

Hello? What? Yes I`ve tried that.

As a family, we are experts at dealing with unexpected calamity and the occasional crisis but Sunday proved to be cataclysmic as the full horror of the collapse of internet network connection visited our humble home.

The first horseman of the apocalypse crashed through the roof when an anguished scream was heard coming from an upper storey of the east wing of our small to medium mansion at about lunchtime. Engaged in “blowing away” cyborgs to reach the next level of some surrogate game designed to replace a more sensible passage to manhood, the son and heir issued a loud frustrated expletive when the internet crashed just before he had achieved enough kills to entitle him to deploy cluster bombs. On a previous occasion when male bonding was deemed necessary, I ventured the proposition that if it were a cyborg, then the screen should not be covered with just blood, brains and gore, but that the gloop should also contain the occasional microchip, PCB and possibly a resistor or two. He shrugged, saying that “it`s not real” and then quoted Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and even Descartes. I managed to resist the temptation to slap him round the back of the head. (more…)

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