Photographs through an art filter

Experiments with photo art applications, in particular the PRISMA application. by Philip Hall Passing photos through ready-made filters hasn’t really taught me much about how paintings and drawings are made, but doing this for a decade has taught me how important it is to have an artist’s eye and how the artist’s eye – even […]

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An Easter-Passover-Eid reflection: Why is everything the way it is?

Not-God is simply not enough. By Philip Hall The alternative to God is not Not-God. Rather it is something INSTEAD of God. But then what in heaven’s name would that be? Applying Ockham’s razor must not produce an absurdity. You cannot dispense with the notion of God without producing an absurdity (Try not to stumble […]

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Be careful what you wish for!

Boris Johnson is hopeless By Phil Hall I made a suggestion on Mariella Frostrup’s Book Programme decades ago which she broadcast with a laugh. It was my opportunity to offend the whole English nation: Why not celebrate Saint George’s Day as they do in Spain? Give a book and a flower. This way we can […]

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Capitalism relies on people like Keir Starmer and Neil Kinnock

Strategic betrayals are always rewarded By Phil Hall In the Middle Ages in 1381 the mayor of London, William Walworth, killed Wat Tyler at a parlay with a knife by stabbing him in the stomach and then cutting off his head. The mayor’s coat of arms then became the Saint George’s cross with a dagger […]

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Open letter to Nick Bostrom

Never mind existential risk, what are your politics? An open letter to Nick Bostrom, Director of The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University By Phil Hall Dear Nick, I think you should be using H. G. Wells’s version of futurology, the one he explores in his book Anticipations and elsewhere and move away from […]

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Socialist arguments against religion

Will there be pie in the sky for us when we die? By Phil Hall Socialist arguments against the use of religion are not always arguments against the idea of an ordering presence in the universe, or against an Earth and a cosmos full of meaning, or against a transcendent expansive all including love, or […]

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How to celebrate the Day of the Dead

… and a calavera for the selfish By Phil Hall So you have lived deep and extracted all the sweetness out of life, and you have had your last meal. But, what food and drink would you like people to remember you by? What wafting smell would have the power to conjure you up from the […]

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The human chimera

A riff on genetic manipulation, Artificial Intelligence and aliens by Phil Hall Regulations are being enacted all over the world to prohibit the development of human animal chimera. Let’s call them zeeple. On the one hand, by helping animals along to sentience, we could probably justify calling them sentient – the word would fit. Claiming […]

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The USA broke Afghanistan, now it must own the mess.

The USA Bugs Out By Phil Hall and Tony Hall The decisive battle that the USA has lost is the battle to rebuild Afghanistan and win hearts and minds. Let’s start by injecting a little historical memory into these farcically simplistic and convenient narratives of invasion, counter invasion and withdrawal. ‘We tried. We came in […]

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Why do ordinary South Africans like Zuma? Isn’t he a bad guy?

Are you mystified? Well, allow me to enlighten you! We are watching ordinary South Africans riot as they see Jacob Zuma tried and sentenced to jail for corruption. If you live in the UK or in Europe or in the USA then your media cannot explain to you why this is happening. Why are people […]

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Include courses in Hygiene, Cleaning and Recycling in the Curriculum

This is a painful, personal and political subject that affects us all. By Phil Hall Cleaning can be enormously glamorous. It can also be one of the most important activities people can perform. If the rubbish people stop collecting rubbish, then it won’t be long before you start to weep. If the water supply stops, […]

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Irritating American spell checkers

Was Noah Webster right to try to rationalise the spelling of English? By Phil Hall How terribly irritating it is to be forced into a decades long struggle (35 years and counting) with US English spell checkers. Some programmes enable you to select a preference for British English, but others do not. I have wasted […]

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The 21st century: This is the age of the New Enlightenment

In a society based on love and mutual support, information will flow. By Phil Hall We need original thinkers. Everything is much more obvious than it is presented to you. What is happiness for a human? The absence of pain, security, membership of a community, love, self development and finally, a sense of spirituality. Chomsky […]

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Scientism against the UFOs

It’s a failure of the imagination. By Phil Hall The US military defense establishment has now admitted that UFOs are real. Let that sink in. Did the penny drop? Scientists can and must try to explain the phenomenon of UFOs, not simply attempt to debunk it. It has become crystal clear now that some UFOs […]

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The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism

No one wants to be lead by donkeys, or dangerous buffoons like Boris Johnson. But who imagines that the Naxalites (or the Sikh farmers) can govern in India? Who thinks the Zapatistas should rule in Chiapas, or Sendero Luminoso in Peru? Who agrees that certain key Brexit voting communities in the north should be the ones to decide the future of the UK.

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LINGUISTICS AND TRUTH

The Chinese student (was his name Bo?) told the professor what the problem was. Greenbaum looked down. He studied the page. Then he looked up and said to to the Chinese student.

‘Thank you very much. You are right. I will send a note to the publisher to make the change in the next edition.’

And there we have it. One of the greatest authorities working in English Grammer, with the book that won him the OM, conceding to a non-native speaker that he had made a mistake and thanking him for pointing it out.

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Cultural gatekeepers make for bad teachers

A bad native speaker teacher sees the British as we and the students as they, as ‘Johnny foreigner’. By Phil Hall For many years I taught Asylum Seekers. Many of them had been in the UK for quite a few years. What upset me was to come across young people who had been in the […]

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Give me that Old Time Religion, it’s good enough for me – and you.

Socialists need to reconnect with religion By Philip Hall I’ve recently decided to become a Quaker. I went to a Quaker boarding school in North Yorkshire when I was a boy and hated the skinheads there, but loved the silences. The Quakers are extremely progressive. Christianity can be quite as profound as the most profound […]

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Turtle in Stöhrstraße

By Philip Hall + It was the Albanian maid, Meera who discovered it. ‘There is an animal in the water butt.’ she said, agitatedly. ‘It’s black and big like this.’ She held out her pudgy hands. Her smile, which at first she offered, now drooped like a cut flower. ‘Show me.’ said Rose. Meera opened […]

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