Family car meets marketing makeover and lives happily ever after

Image credit: Nissan UK Ltd

I recently acquired a used Nissan Qashqai which, for readers living in countries outside of the UK, is a SUV-styled mid-sized family car. To be even more precise, it is the UK’s absolute favorite SUV-styled mid-sized family car. At times it can seem as if every third vehicle on the road or in a carpark is a Qashqai, such has been the success of Nissan’s marketing endeavors and the appetite of Brits for this modest but cunningly positioned family transport.

The Qashqai is basically a five-seat family hatchback restyled to gain the appearance, but not the milquetoast reality, of a…

How we’ve accidentally engineered the next phase of humanity’s evolution, and why no one sees what is happening

Image credit: Singularity Hub

The human brain is estimated to contain 10¹¹ neurons, each of which can have up to 20,000 connections with other neurons. Collectively, the brain enables us to create internal representations of the external world that enable us to navigate our environment and response with reasonable appropriateness to stimuli. The apparatus inside our heads converts electromagnetic radiation of certain frequencies into forms that help us interact with the world around us; hence we create “colors” as a way to distinguish between certain frequencies and we feel “heat” in response to other frequencies. Our brains convert certain pressure waves into “sounds” and…

Why some people are tremendously keen to be sexual arbiters, and why their declamations are invariably wrong

Image credit: Elisabeth Busey

We humans are a relatively simple species. We’re in perpetual competition with each other, although we’re usually blithely unaware of the fact. We make most of our decisions based on feelings and instincts and then dress our decisions retrospectively with a superficial gloss of reasoning. As a social species, we live within group norms which constrain our behavior.

Shaping these norms can sometimes give us significant power and thus advantage over our less manipulative peers.

We need only see how readily huge numbers of people are manipulated by the mass media to see that it’s quite easy to shape group…

Why it’s so difficult for things to work rationally here on Earth

Image credit: SN-Drive

I’ve spent most of my life feeling as though, for a joke, I was deposited here on Earth as an infant and then thanks to someone’s forgetfulness, was never subsequently rescued.

As a small child I watched my parents each smoking their regular eighty cigarettes a day and imbibing a variety of alcoholic drinks in a desperate but perpetually unsuccessful attempt to numb their obvious misery. Why, I wondered, don’t they instead address whatever is making them so unhappy? Their supposed friends were equally discontent and equally devoted to self-medicating themselves into a perpetual semi-stupor. …

Why humans won’t explore the stars, or even our own solar system

Image credit: NASA (from Hubble space telescope)

In general, people have an endearing tendency to believe what they see depicted in Hollywood entertainments. This is why most people imagine that they need only stroll off into the sunset hand-in-hand with their beloved to enjoy an eternal happy-ever-after as the credits roll. It’s why people think that you can restart a heart with a defibrillator. It’s why juries convict on the basis of entirely unreliable DNA evidence. The list of follies we commit because we can’t discern the difference between fiction and reality is to all intents and purposes endless.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that the topic of…

Why work-from-home will soon be a distant memory

Image credit: Edie

Journalists and commentators are excitable folk who live within a bubble of the permanent present. Knowing nothing of history, nor in fact of anything much at all, media types reliably imagine the future by simply extrapolating in a straight line from whatever transient circumstances happen to exist at the moment they are doing their prognosticating.

Not surprisingly, the value of these prognostications is almost always very slight indeed.

As far back in time as most people can remember (e.g. two months ago) all the chatter was about the future of work being a blend of work-from-home with one or two…

How SARS-CoV2 really did leak from a secret bioweapons facility in Wuhan

Image credit: Cargill Inc.

Dear people of the West, and also assorted humans living in less self-centered and pampered countries, on behalf of the glorious Chinese Empire we have an important announcement to impart.

There has been vile speculation in the corrupt running-dog capitalist Western media that the coronavirus designated SARS-CoV2 originated in one of our non-existent bioweapons facilities. Until today, we have rightly denied such libelous claims for the absurd lies they so clearly are. Today, however, we acknowledge that the coronavirus did indeed come from our Wuhan facility and accidentally leaked out due to an unfortunate mistake by the janitor who was…

Hyundai has made a near-perfect car for everyday driving

Image credit: Hyundai Motor Corporation

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a driver in possession of a good car, must be in want of driving lessons.

While parodying Jane Austen is occasionally amusing, the fact that hardly anyone on the public highways is capable of driving with any degree of skill is far less amusing. Yet wherever we look within the OECD, this is what we find. When we look elsewhere, the situation is far worse. Most people simply have no real notion of how to drive. …

Why the latest publicity stunt by United has plenty of potential to backfire

Image credit: United Airlines

During the first dot-com boom, staid executives of traditional companies (you know: the sort that make profits) were furious about being sidelined in the mass media by much younger and brasher entrepreneurs who (on paper, at least) were suddenly worth more than the GDP of many small countries. Jack Welsch of GE famously told his minions to “get us some moolah” by acquiring a few dot-com properties that surely would boost GE into the stratosphere of inflated valuations. …

How ultra-lefty-trendy types and drooling howling right-wingers use the same methods to crush decent moderate people

Image credit: British Society for Immunology

As a sometime student of history I’ve always been fascinated by how tyrannical regimes resemble each other regardless of their supposed political orientation. Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini were all fascists and used secret police and paramilitary thugs to intimidate and then eliminate opponents; they also created camps to which unfortunates could be consigned, never to emerge again. Stalin, Mao, and PolPot were all communists and used secret police and paramilitary thugs to intimidate and then eliminate opponents; they also created camps to which unfortunates could be consigned, never to emerge again.

Likewise, the language used by Nazis was little different…

Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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