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Wall Street Journal: In a Concentration Camp, Dreams of a Café

Jewish communities have suffered a spate of horrifying anti-Semitic attacks on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet survival has always been the story of the Jewish people. Remembering how previous generations responded to persecution shows how light can still be found amid darkness. Consider the life of Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005), an Austrian Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals. Before … Continue reading Wall Street Journal: In a Concentration Camp, Dreams of a Café

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The Times' Raconteur: What are dark patterns and how are they tricking me?

Security researcher Ophir Harpaz was browsing a travel website to book a flight when she noticed a little prompt many of us are familiar with. It said: “38 people are looking at this flight.” At first glance, this may seem to be a helpful reminder warning that the flight might sell out. Except it wasn’t so. In a tweet that has since gone viral, Harpaz … Continue reading The Times' Raconteur: What are dark patterns and how are they tricking me?

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Standpoint Magazine: Viennese rooms with a point of view

“Austria comes alive on my divan,” said Berta Zuckerkandl, and this was an understatement. An influential journalist and art critic, Zuckerkandl welcomed everybody from Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt to Arthur Schnitzler at her home. There, she promoted their work, found them buyers and introduced them to the luminaries of the day. “Hail to the most marvellous and witty woman in Vienna,” Johann Strauss is … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Viennese rooms with a point of view

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Standpoint Magazine: City where history is still being made

Long before either Ukraine or Russia existed, there was Kiev. For centuries, the city’s residents have been sauntering along the Dnieper River, strolling through the green hills on which the city is built and exchanging news on Krechatyk Street. The city’s architecture attests to its longevity. There’s the Byzantine Saint Sophia Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century, and has scribbles from medieval visitors … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: City where history is still being made

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The Times' Raconteur: Exploring the dark side of frictionless shopping

When it comes to shopping, convenience is the name of the game. Increasingly, one-click buying, contactless payments and same-day deliveries create a frictionless shopping experience. But is friction necessarily a bad thing? After all, removing friction creates a cognitive and emotional distance from our purchase. In other words, it makes handing over money feel less real. At the same time, we increasingly shop online through … Continue reading The Times' Raconteur: Exploring the dark side of frictionless shopping

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Times Literary Supplement: Whose London is it anyway?

Tucked away between office buildings by Euston station is where I found the Camden People’s Theatre. It’s a little place with colourful bunting, a cheerful selection of chairs and flowery plastic tablecloths. It’s the kind of theatre where you can buy a packet of crisps in the interval, rather than wasabi peas. I went to see a talk and two plays that were part of Whose … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Whose London is it anyway?

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Standpoint Magazine: Wholesome homes

One of the 20th century’s main advocates of high-rise tower blocks was the architect Ernő Goldfinger. To address the acute housing shortage following the Second World War, he designed concrete monsters including the Trellick Tower in Kensington, which was completed in 1972, and Balfron Tower in Poplar, completed in 1967. Living with Buildings, at the Wellcome Collection, London, until March 3, 2019, explores how buildings … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Wholesome homes

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The Times’ Raconteur: Should robots be expected to make ethical decisions?

While robots can’t be ethical agents in themselves, we can programme them to act according to certain rules. But what we expect from robot ethics is still a subject of hot debate. For example, technology companies have discovered that people share some of their darkest thoughts with virtual assistants. So, how do we expect them to respond? What do we expect from virtual assistants? When … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur: Should robots be expected to make ethical decisions?

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The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Can money buy happiness after all?

Imagine you’re on your way back from work and you pop into a shop. You weren’t looking for anything in particular, but an hour later you find yourself walking out with a big smile and multiple bags in tow. What happened? Behavioural economists call it the effect of “shopping momentum”. We like to think we’re rational consumers when it comes to our spending. After all, … Continue reading The Sunday Times’ Raconteur: Can money buy happiness after all?

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The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Taking the emotion out of trading

We are not rational thinkers, but emotional creatures when it comes to making financial decisions. This idea has been gaining currency ever since the acclaimed psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics with Amos Tversky for their work on behavioural economics. Many experiments have shown that it’s easier for us to part with money if we’re paying by card rather than in cash, … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Taking the emotion out of trading