Does the Internet help or hinder you in making wise decisions?

I've just read a fascinating article by Tim Weber, BBC News Editor, reporting from the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos as he chats to business leaders in a sea of laptops and other mobile devices.

He reflects on how we are now “hyperconnected” with mobile devices now outnumbering both laptops and toothbrushes. Is all this information which is changing the way that we relate and shop, that is “the abundant distractions of the internet” a help or a hindrance? If the size of my inbox is anything to go by, I suspect it is a hindrance!

In this age where people's brands or reputations can be destroyed in seconds, advice to leaders is “treat your employees with respect and stick to your values” and make sure you find time to think and to reflect. This sounds like a good summary for success in the 21st Century information age.

Full article here: the photo brings the message home!

Piers Corbyn predicts mini ice age

Have you come across Piers Corbyn? He is reputed to be more accurate at long term weather forecasting than meteorologists, and accurately predicted the very cold weather in Europe at the end of 2010. For his forecasting he uses activity and cycles of the sun and moon, which he says dominate our weather patterns.

He claims that the famous “hockey stick” graph that “shows” that temperatures are increasing fast because of increases in carbon dioxide levels ignores temperatures in the middle ages that were higher than now. It also ignores the fact that despite rising carbon dioxide levels temperatures have been dropping over the last ten years.

There was a mini ice age a few hundred years ago when temperatures dropped by a few degrees Celsius and he predicts that the same will happen in 2035. There is some risk that this could trigger a full ice age, as we are overdue for one.

Interesting stuff! Why would (other) scientists falsify data? Take a look at Piers' Corbyn's Weatheraction website, his page on climate change which has some informative links, and an article summarising this from the Daily Telegraph of 19th December 2010.


Ananias is one of my heroes

Today, January 25th,  is the festival of the Conversion of St Paul – in the Church of England and a few others besides. I read again today of the extraordinary event of Saul losing his sight and being healed miraculously by Ananias. Maybe many people yearn to have a dramatic conversion like that which turned Saul into St Paul. I admire the quiet heroism of Ananias who heard from God that he should visit and bless the one man who had been most responsible for the murder of many of his friends. This man whom we hardly know recognised and trusted the Voice, had the courage to do what was asked of him, and the course of history was changed.

Materialism, by John O’Donohue

John says: “All materialism – be it for money, power, possession, or people – has to do with an epistemology of quantity… the mistaken belief that, through an accumulation of quantity, you can settle the task of your own identity.

I'd like to write about what I like about this, but is seems that any attempt by me to to so would merely detract from the depth and insight of this statement. I've just been catching up on my reading of the Church Times (14/1/2011) which includes a never-before-published interview with John (who died three years ago) by Martin Wroe. That is where I found this quote and some other interesting ones.

I also like John's belief in blessing: the “speech-act” of one person speaking a blessing over another person. He sees this as something anyone can do, which “might be the coolest thing of all. It has a democracy and equality about it, a sense of well-wishing that is concerned more with the destiny of someone rather than their destination.”

Priest, poet, philosopher, speaker and author: his most famous book may be Anam Cara (Gaelic for soul friend) which was published in 2007. Full interview here.

Epistemology, noun, the branch of philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge.

Earlier article on this blog about John O'Donohue.

Travel Insurance and medical information

It seems to me that when you find yourself over 50 years old you realise that you are likely to have medical conditions that you need to tell travel insurance companies about when requesting quotes.

I don't want to talk to telephone operators about my medical history: I like anonymous online questionnaires. A few years ago these did not seem to be available, now they seem to be commonplace.

I compared Saga, Age UK, Axa, and Columbus for a single trip policy for Nepal and was pleasantly surprised to find that Columbus (who I have used before) came out best in terms of useability of web site; consistency of wording of questions on web site with declarations that the policy requires you to make, and price. I choose them again.