Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Saturday 27 June, 02009

Money ritual

by Matthew Bartlett @ 3:06 pm

Charles Eisenstein:

Money is a system of magical talismans that are used ritualistically. A lot of things around money are ritualistic — signing a cheque is a ritual. What makes that slip of paper powerful? You have to use a ritual to make it powerful. Rituals in any society are what a society uses to perpetuate its stories. The story of the people, and many subsidiary stories. And these stories are what assign roles to people, and focus human activity.

Saturday 30 May, 02009

Jim Wallace, ex-commander of the Australaian SAS, on pacifism

by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:20 pm

From a CPX interview [21mb mp3]

Interviewer: Being a Christian in the army… Doesn’t Jesus tell us to turn the other cheek? How do you match those two things up?
Jim Wallace: It’s a question I’m asked often, you know, and I personally have no problem with it. One, because I actually became a Christian in my first year in the army, and certainly as Christians we believe you stay where God calls you, where he’s called you to himself, unless he calls you out of that. And he didn’t call me out of it for 32 years, very clearly. But the other thing was, I had a friend of mine, actually, who was a Christian, and became a Christian about the same time I did, in Duntroon. (more…)

Sunday 26 April, 02009

Complexity propensity

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:14 pm

I’m reading Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science. I’m about one-fifth the way through this 1200-page tome. He has studied cellular automata and found that complexity can be generated by very simple rules — complexity that appears to ‘come from nowhere’. It feel consonant with Simon Conway Morris talking at the Faraday Institute about convergence in evolution. Convergence is evolution finding similar solutions to design problems in disparate organisms. Sonar in bats and dolphins, for instance, evolved independently (there is no common ancestor with sonar), but their implementations share many features. SCM says that that shouldn’t really be surprising – for any given design problem there may be only so many solutions. There are only a few different ways two-legged creatures could possibly walk, for instance. So he thinks that if you were to ‘rerun the tape’ of evolution, you’d get similar creatures emerging. One interesting implication of convergence is that it suggests there is a sort of structure built into the universe. To someone like me who grew up with six-day creationism, but has let it fall away, that is helpful — that structure, combined with the mysterious fecundity of the universe (its propensity to complexity, life, intelligence, self-awareness) hint at, suggest, or allude to a God ‘behind’ everything-that-is.

Friday 30 January, 02009

I vote Milbank

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:37 am

A helpful discussion of Christian Socialism on BBC4’s Beyond Belief programme. It’s relevant to Ben’s earlier comments.

Monday 09 June, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:31 pm

I recommend John Pilger’s documentary The War on Democracy. It’s about the adventures of the US in Latin America. The basic idea is that the US has done whatever it feels it needs to do to further its ‘national interests’, including supporting coups of democratically-elected leaders. Pilger is a little simplistic, too easily concluding that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (Chavez, Castro), but he’s still mostly spot on.

Aucklanders can hire cars for $13.50/hr incl petrol [via wellingtonista]

Monday 26 May, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:24 am

I recommend No Country for Old Men.

Monday 31 March, 02008

Give way

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:02 am

Eye of the Fish reports on the Housing Policy Forum
The demise of newspapers and democracy [via /.]
AK47 infomercial [yt vid, via Rob]
Fat and politics
NRT on the kingmaker debate

Thursday 27 March, 02008

Don’t be done with this jabber

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:20 am

Recent interview with Mike Davis of Planet of Slums fame
A really good speech from Barack Obama [yt vid]

My picks from Webstock [MP3s]: Sam Morgan interview, Simon Willison on OpenID, Chris DiBona’s history of open source, Kathy Sienna on reverse engineering passion

Wednesday 12 March, 02008

In the world

by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:36 am

I recommend Sigur Rós’ movie Heima.

Tuesday 11 March, 02008

We do

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:28 am

Who needs a movie? [via KEB]

Friday 07 March, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:07 am

3d modelling in Excel [geekery]
Vatican to house Galileo statue
Hauerwas lecture about America, on Italian TV
Marshall McLuhan vs. Norman Mailer, 1968

Monday 03 March, 02008

Clean streams accordion

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:38 am

Russell Norman checks out polluted streams on Wairarapa farms [vid]

Friday 22 February, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:25 am

NRT suggests a Bunnings boycott
interesting (and very alpha) non-modal operating system (idea)
really neat demo of SeaDragon and Photosynth [vid]

Friday 15 February, 02008

Road pain

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:33 am

Tim Jones’ report on Wednesday’s transport meeting

from second episode of the best documentary in the world, The Century of the Self:

My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to ‘cure’ ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call ‘happiness’. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go. It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.

I’m selling 2x 512MB laptop RAM on tradeem

Wednesday 23 January, 02008

Life now

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:55 am

More on lazy NZ newspapers
Tree of life loses limb
Jeanette Fitzsimons’ State of the Planet 2008 speech

In a LongNow seminar, Roger Kennedy said:

When talent emerges it is a sin not to cup your hands around it and help it on. That’s about all I think one learns from the study of history, or the decline of cultures: somebody needed to help somebody a little more.