Charles N. Steele wrote a funny little comment on Hot Coffee Girl's blog a while back, about not defining oneself as a "non-smoker". Recent encounters with various pseudo-intellectual movements defining themselves as post-this or post-that got me to thinking that the prefix "post-" probably deserves similar contempt for defining oneself not in terms of what one is but in terms of what one is not.

There is a debate going on at Charles's site about a strange concept called post-science. Though much of the argument is esoteric, I recommend it to you for the entertainment value of the claims of the post-science spokesman (and of the websites that he points to), and as an illustration of the difficulty of reasoning with people who consciously reject rationality, and of where such a rejection gets you to.

Pie-in-the-sky planning

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday on the progress of two projects - Sigma Scan and Delta Scan - commissioned by the Horizon Scanning Centre within the Foresight Programme of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You may not have realised that the POST (if you knew it existed) had a Foresight Programme, nor that that programme included a Horizon Scanning Centre, and probably not that that centre had commissioned Strategic Horizon Scans from The Institute for the Future in California on the future of science and technology (Delta Scan) and from Outsights (a management consultancy, surprise, surprise) and Ipsos Mori (the pollsters) on future social, political, economic and environmental issues (Sigma Scan). But rest assured, those civil servants are busy beavering away, working out how we'll all be living our lives in 50 years' time. How else would we know what to plan for and what to throw our taxes at?