(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Here’s a small change that could transform the world…

I haven’t fully explored this idea, but I think it’s a good one to consider as a thought experiment.

What if we removed the ability for people to privately own companies?

Some people might have quite a reactionary response to this, thinking it an inherently communist idea, but I don’t think that would have to be the case at all.

How might it work?

It wouldn’t make sense to nationalise everything; we know that this can often be problematic.

Instead, as a formality, each person who worked at the company could…

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

If you’re a crumb on a piece of toast, and you’re at the edge of the piece of toast, then your universe looks quite asymmetrical. In one direction is the crust and then a great expanse of nothingness. In the other is a glorious plain of delicious toast.

However, if you’re in the middle of the toast, then your universe looks quite symmetrical in every direction. Or at least it does if you’re zoomed out enough.

If you’re really zoomed in, then it might look different in every direction, as each crumb looks like a distinct mountain.

To us, our…

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Do matriarchal structures more commonly arise where social factors dominate a community’s interrelations?

In a small, sub-Dunbar community of moderate intelligence wherein everyone knows one another, it would seem unlikely to me that situations might arise in which power should stem entirely from physical strength. Physical strength is more likely to be put to use by the hive intelligence of the group.

However, as we humans threw off our Dunbar number shackles, growing beyond small hunter-gatherer bands, by coordinating through large-scale fictions like religion, the organisation of communities, by necessity, had to become more 1-dimensional.

It’s my feeling that there’s…

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Portugal has a serious problem with the mistreatment of dogs. All across the nation, there are dogs in cages, living in tiny, cramped conditions.

Bella and I just wrote this anonymous letter to one owner whose dog barks as if it’s crying, every time any dog passes by (it doesn’t respond to humans — it clearly has no connection to them at all — it’s clearly been ignored all of its life):


I have a question for you.

Why is your dog in prison?

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. …

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

In the future, polities closer to the poles will thrive. This is perhaps obvious…

Firstly, the climate is changing, and polar areas will become the most inhabitable.

And secondly, the human brain functions better at lower temperatures. We used to think that yawning was about getting oxygen to the brain, and now we realise it’s about cooling it. As economies become more technology-based, requiring more brain power, the power bases will shift accordingly.

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Singularities don’t make much sense in maths, so why do we force them to make sense in physics?

Departing from singularities for a moment and looking at scales…

It’s intuitive for us to build things from small building blocks: we start small and work upwards.

But what if we tried measuring everything the other way around; starting from the whole, always?

For example, we know that the speed of light is obtainable, whilst total stillness isn’t: the closer we try to get to it, the further away it seems.

Maybe all speeds would be better measured as fractions of c…

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Some people say that, if we could be inside the brain of a lion, then we wouldn’t be able to comprehend what they can perceive… because their existence is so different, but I don’t believe that at all. I think there’s much more commonality to consciousness than that. If my friend Hedda Mørch is to be correct, then it goes right down to the particle level.

Perhaps there might be some learning in climbing inside a lion, but I think it wouldn’t take too long to understand and appreciate their world as they do.

When we put other animals in this frame of being so “other”, we distance ourselves from them, when in fact we’re all part of the same whole. We’re just slightly different answers to the same question of what it means to be alive.

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

The big bang theory not only doesn’t fit with a lot of cosmological evidence; it also creates just as much mystery as it attempts to solve.

What came before it? Why did it happen?

To my mind, it makes a lot more sense if there was no beginning; rather if everything was going round and round in cycles, in perfect symmetry with itself. Such a symmetry must have many dimensions / degrees of freedom, some or many of which still remain unfathomable to us. …

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

Language underpins all thought. We need to start renaming climate anxiety to what it really is: climate empathy.

The notion of anxiety is very inward and destructive. Empathy is very outwards and motivating.

By slightly, subtly reframing the way we speak, we can vindicate and mobilise huge numbers of people to act to change the world for the better.

(These ideas are those of my friend Rachel Musson, at Thoughtbox)

(Drawing by Minty Sainsbury)

All viruses are made by us for us.

(By us, I mean all of life.)

Our living cells are perfectly designed to both replicate and originate viruses.

Viruses are an intrinsic part of life on Earth. Trillions of them float above us in the sky, and trillions fall to Earth, causing infections (mostly in bacteria) every day, leading to further replication and more viruses.

Just in the same way as virus particles are intrinsic to the world, so too are ideas in our society.

Our minds are perfect for the replication of information, both true and otherwise.

What matters most…

Matthew J Shribman

Science Storyteller, Environmentalist, Teacher, Normal Guy // MChem (Oxon) // co-founder of AimHi

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