David Harris

Curious observer of life and relentless creator of stuff

Just how private are your privacy settings?

Even with the most private of privacy settings there’s a wealth of information known about us without us even realising it. An article in the New Scientist sheds more light on the information social networks know about us which they are reluctant to reveal.

Read more on Just how private are your privacy settings?…

Even more fun with your iPhone

It’s true that an iPhone is a toy. But it’s a great toy. In the same way we loved Nokia’s snake in the 90s, we’ve now fallen in love with a host of iPhone apps of varying degrees of usefulness and entertainment value – over half a million of them in fact.

Read more on Even more fun with your iPhone…

Are we more creative in the pub?

We’ve all had ‘Black Pencil’ ideas, pints in hand, outside a sunny Soho pub. Maybe we just never sobered up quick enough to write them down. Now scientists at the University of Illinois, Chicago, have suggested that alcohol can help with creative problem solving by freeing up the mind to wander and connect more disparate ideas.

Before we quickly revert to a nostalgic tumbler of whisky in the hand culture the study refers to men who are ‘tipsy’. The tests detailed in Consciousness and Cognition involved 20 men who drank enough vodka cranberry to reach a 0.075% level of intoxication – that’s just below the legal cut-off point for legal intoxication in the US. They were tested alongside 20 men who were sober. Read more on Are we more creative in the pub?…

Beyond the Kindle

I never judge people simply by the way they look. But I do buy books purely on the strength of their covers. In fact, for me, the jacket design is one of the real delights of books. Many have introduced me to authors that would have otherwise remained undiscovered.

I bought Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Everything is Illuminated’ simply because I fell in love with the graphics. ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian’ by Marina Lewycka is another cover that leapt off the shelf into my hand. Obviously I’m not the only one, as a colleague told me that Jonathan Gray’s cover of Safran Foer’s ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ was the inspiration behind the global Hewlett Packard campaign. Read more on Beyond the Kindle…

The Amplification of Silence

The Artist, a film directed by Micheal Hazanavicius, is brilliant.

It’s a brave film in that it flies in the face of convention, it’s beautifully directed and tells an engaging story. But it does so without any dialogue. Even the musical numbers are mute and we never actually hear the voice of Peggy Miller, the young starlet whose career takes off in the ‘talkies’ as an entertainer. We never hear the flirtatious chat between her and George Valentin, the Douglas Fairbanks look-alike leading man because it doesn’t exist – other than in a few inter-title boards.

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