News has a filter problem: we judge the whole on the little we see

I reckon I read 10 per cent of what a news org produces on a given day; more on some days, less on others, and some days none at all. So my perception of ‘the news’ as a whole is based on this small amount I see of what the world’s news orgs produce – …

Operation Mincemeat: an elaborately staged deceit

Former CIA director Allen W Dulles’ book about the intelligence business gives an example of how a rigged accident can be used to feed fake information to the enemy. His example, Operation Mincemeat, as it turns out, is a well-known one told in the 1950s book ‘‘The Man Who Never Was’ and the movie of the …

KiwiFoo ’09 and the power of conversation

I had the good fortune to attend KiwiFoo (aka Baa Camp), a kind of unconference which brings together a cluster of people from various fields who share at least one thing: a burning passion for what they do. Hard to go wrong with a starting point like that and sure enough it proved a hugely …

The email ‘pebble pile’ effect

A nice observation about email expectations from Merlin Mann, a software usability expert quoted in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: Email is such a funny thing. People hand you these single little messages that are no heavier than a river pebble. But it doesn’t take long until you have acquired a pile of pebbles that’s taller than you and heavier than you could ever hope to move, even if you wanted to do it over a few dozen trips.