Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Wednesday 14 November, 02012

A book I made

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:23 pm

As far as I know, this is the first book produced by Enspiral.
I believe you can buy it at Whitcoulls.

Sunday 26 July, 02009


by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:27 pm

I’m following a reformed chap’s ambivalent travels through Yoder’s Politics of Jesus (which you ought to read). He quotes Yoder thus:

In correlation with our sense of impossibility we tend to think of “apocalyptic” promises as pointing “off the map” of human experience, off the scale of time, in that they announce an end to history….Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom was unacceptable to most of his listeners not because they thought it could not happen but because they feared it might, and that it would bring down judgment on them.

Friday 10 July, 02009

JHY for the day

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:38 pm

John Howard Yoder’s book The Original Revolution arrived in the mail a few days ago, care of (the apparently a bit neglected & imho foolishly volunteer-staffed) goodbooks. Treat. Here’s a cracker quote from chapter 2, The Political Axioms of the Sermon on the Mount:

As the parallel statements in verse 45 and in Luke 6 make clear, we are asked to “resemble God” just at this one point: not in His omnipotence or His eternity or His impeccability, but simply in the undiscriminating or unconditional character of His love. This is not a fruit of long growth and maturation; it is not inconceivable or impossible. We can do it tomorrow if we believe. We can stop loving only the lovable, lending only to the reliable, giving only to the grateful, as soon as we grasp and are grasped by the unconditionality of the benevolence of God.

Wednesday 06 May, 02009

Science is hard

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:57 pm

From a review by Cosma Shalizi of the aforementioned Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science

Let me try to sum up. On the one hand, we have a large number of true but commonplace ideas, especially about how simple rules can lead to complex outcomes, and about the virtues of toy models. On the other hand, we have a large mass of dubious speculations (many of them also unoriginal). We have, finally, a single new result of mathematical importance, which is not actually the author’s. Everything is presented as the inspired fruit of a lonely genius, delivering startling insights in isolation from a blinkered and philistine scientific community. We have been this way before.

I’m a bad egg for starting to read reviews before finishing the book. Perhaps Wolfy will be vindicated when Alpha goes live… perhaps.

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.

Thursday 16 April, 02009

Recommended book: Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air by David MacKay

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:10 pm

He’s trying to get people to think (and talk) rationally, rather than emotionally, about energy consumption & production. He gives lots of useful rules of thumb for figuring out the possible contribution of various forms of energy generation. He’s fighting against the ‘every little bit counts’ mentality that is careful about turning off cellphone chargers but has nothing to say about (say) urban form. He’s trying to provide the mental tools for people to get a handle on their own consumption, the bigger context (in the UK at least), and confidence to decide between conflicting and confusing claims like these: “The UK has the best wind resources in Europe” (Sustainable Development Commission). “Wind farms will devastate the countryside pointlessly” (James Lovelock).

Get it for free here

Tuesday 11 November, 02008

He sounds like our Green Party

by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:40 pm

Obama! Obama! said:

There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy. I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

[via TreeHugger]

Monday 15 September, 02008

Ends in mid-sentence

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:55 am


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 26 March, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:47 am

Sci-fi and politics
Russell Brown’s take on the China/Tibet business

Wednesday 19 March, 02008


by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:02 am

“The Land Ethic”, by Aldo Leopold (1949)
An abortion debate
Good questions from the Greens about the NZ–China PTA
and a speech from Keith Locke in Parliament on the same topic [vid]

RIP Arthur C Clarke

Tuesday 18 March, 02008

The Starry Messenger

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:59 am

Translation of the title page of The Starry Messenger that appears in Edward Tufte’s (best) book (of all time), Envisioning Information:

Unfolding great and surpassingly wondrous sights, and offering everyone, but especially philosophers and astronomers, the phenomena observed by Galileo Galilei, a Gentleman of Florence, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Padua, with the aid of a telescope, lately invented by him, on the surface of the moon, an innumerable number of fixed stars, the Milky Way, and Nebulous Stars, and above all in four planets swiftly revolving around the planet Jupiter and at different distances and periods, and known to no one before this day, the author recently discovered them and decided to call them The Medicean Stars. Venice. Published by Thomas Baglionus. 1610. With permission and approval of superiors.

Thursday 21 February, 02008

Ngauranga to Airport Corridor study

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:11 am

The date for last submissions on the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor study has been extended a week, to 29 February.

the Welly Chamber of Commerce weighs in [PDF]

Staircase bookcase [via K]

Monday 14 January, 02008

Quotes equal and opposite

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:27 pm

Robert Pirsig, in Lila: “Nature tells us only what our culture predisposes us to hear.”

Wes Jackson, speaking at Duke Divinity School, in conversation with Wendell Berry, quoting Ben W Smith: “We need wilderness as the standard against which to judge our agricultural practices.”

Thursday 29 November, 02007

RE<C, bad Kindle, good Garrett, interfaith and me

by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:02 am

Google wants to make renewables cheaper than coal
Agin the Kindle [via RF]
Brilliant Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil) is Australia’s new Environment Minister
David Newton on interfaith dialogue, parts one and two
A sermon from me about endurance, or living through an apocalypse [32KB PDF]

Web/print design job going – ask me about it.