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Colin Johnson’s blog

Archive for April, 2012

Cut and Paste

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I can’t quite believe that the authors of this document thought that somehow cutting and pasting an image of a text box, complete with scrollbar, would somehow turn a Word document into an interactive form (though perhaps that’s how computers should work):


Multiculturalism is my Native Culture

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

There has been much poo-poohing of multiculturalism in the press and politics of the last few years. At best, these critiques argue that it is a half-arsed compromise; at worst, a threat to the existence of civilisation.

Multiculturalism is my native culture. As such, these attacks feel as strong to me as any attack on a specific culture.

I believe that multiculturalism—perhaps more accurately, panculturalism, the belief that through enthusiasm, tolerance and excitment about the rich variety of world cultures—we can create a society that is richer and more exciting to live in than any parochial monoculture.

I’ve visited monocultures, both by travelling half way across the world and getting a train half-an-hour out of London. I find their constant filtering of life through a single lens tedious.

In so many ways—from the trivial issue of being able to get food from a dozen cultures within five minutes of my flat, to interacting on a day-to-day-basis with people whose backgrounds are so different from mine, this is a key part of what makes my life interesting and meaningful.

This ain’t your grandmother’s multiculturalism anymore. People born in major cities in many countries are increasingly growing up as pancultural natives. To them, the UKIPpy desire to create (yes, create, not return to; you cannae step in the same river twice) a new, tedious monoculture is a threat to their native culture as any external “threat”.

We need to reclaim multiculturalism from the idea that it is a compromise for everyone involved, and celebrate the idea that we can create a better society by bringing together the best that we all have to offer.

No Escape

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I do like some yummy Vegetarian Symbol with my hummus (from Nawroz, Edinburgh):

"Humus Vegetarian Symbol" on menu

International Communication

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I liked the sticker that I got at the conference to say that I am a vegetarian:

"no carne, no pescado"

Unfair Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

“Video art is a con. It’s just a way of getting people to spend way more time in front of your piece than in front of other pieces, so that your piece sticks in people’s minds more.”

Two of Life’s Essentials

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Who wouldn’t want to live on ‘Bread “Laserquest” St.’?

Map showing Bread "Laserquest" Street.

Evidence vs. Assertion

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

One piece of advice that is commonly given to candidates in job interviews and similar situations is to evidence what they say. If asked “Why should I believe that you are capable of doing X?” the suggested response is to find an example of where they did X in the past, or something that is similar to X is some way, and build an argument around that. This seems very sensible to me, it prevents waffle and generic assertive statements.

Watching The Apprentice recently, though, makes me wonder about this. Often this kind of evidence-based response is dismissed by Lord Sugar using phrases along the lines of “don’t tell us your bloody life story”. It seems like he is expecting a generic, assertive statement and that providing evidence from what the candidate has done before is looking backwards rather than looking forwards.

What should a candidate do if they encounter such an attitude in a real interview? I can’t decide whether it is best just to redound to the generic statements that seem to be being demanded here, or whether to try to turn it around by being very explicit about how the evidence relates to the question being asked.