Nature or nurture? It’s the long-standing question which has mesmerised ethicists, confounded the academy and characterised the ambiguities of political debate throughout the decades.

It’s an issue with implications right at the heart of many of the most pressing challenges which our world faces. To what extent are we responsible for our successes or failures? What does it mean to treat people fairly? Are differences in outcomes always the result of differences in opportunity?

Yet in the attempt to draw meaningful conclusions, that sense of satisfying simplicity — of the kind which might be found in mathematics — is often…


Book Summary

Whoever you are and whatever you do, share what you do with the world. We don’t want human spam, but people love to see the inner workings of the creative mind. Think process not product. Share little snippets from your work. Over time, your accumulated body of content will get people invested in your work and in you. You will attract followers who share your interests and benefit from your work. Let people join you on whichever journey you are on.

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Insights

  • Sharing your work enables you to attract an audience…

In certain corners of the environmental lobby, the domain of sustainable transport refers almost exclusively to expanding cycling and public transport infrastructure. However, with the formation of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) — a new policy unit for providing co-ordination across departments — the government is accelerating the rollout of autonomous vehicles (AVs), and local Councils have a vital role to play.

Providing greater choice for individuals should be one of the primary goals when shaping priorities for transport infrastructure. That’s why I’ve been supportive of the government’s trial of e-scooters across many parts of the country…


In so many ways, one of the most fundamental problems the world faces could be described in one word: confusion.

We’re confused about our place in the world and the meaning of our lives. We struggle to translate our sense of what meaning is into a set of tangible and ambitious goals for our lives.

Even for those who do have clear goals to aim at, putting our finger on an effective strategy for ensuring those important goals are attained can frequently elude us.

It is self-evident that human-nature is characterised by limitation. …


When considering a matter in court, a judge will first seek to establish the facts pertaining to the alleged offence and then to establish a verdict on the matter in relation those facts.

I find this to be a useful distinction to make in discussion of other matters too, including the question of Jesus’ resurrection.

In the first blog post in this series exploring the resurrection of Jesus, I set out the question which we’re seeking to establish, as well as the criteria which I have considered to be appropriate in making such an assessment.

If you haven’t already read…


Of all the curious narratives which define the contours of culture and articulate the most penetrating truths about human nature, the most influential are those set out in the Judaeo-Christian inheritance — the Bible.

Modern culture is steeped in Christian ideas

Despite owing much of its eminence to the claims and implications of this text, the secularised West now substantially rejects the historical and religious claim that God has revealed himself decisively in Jesus.

While a lingering memory of the ‘great moral teacher’ echoes within the corridors of our collective subconscious, most people today have very little interest in reckoning with the man who called himself the…


These are uncharted waters. Relentlessly, the technological titans of the 2020s are pressing on with their agenda to connect, to simplify and to automate. ‘Get smart’ is the consumer’s plea to every tool and technology in his arsenal - or face getting left behind.

Data is the new currency of power, standing by to extract every cause of friction from our lives. …


In the early 19th century, as the industrial revolution was well under way, engineers from across the West were heavily invested in designing machinery of all colours for increasing the efficiency, safety and affordability of manufacturing.

In Nottingham, a group of textile workers had been secretly organising themselves under oath in anticipation of a nation-wide rebellion against technological automation. Known as the ‘Luddites’, they considered the use of textile machinery by their employers to be ‘fraudulent and deceitful’ for fear that their skills as craftsmen would go to waste. The radical group protested against this advancement by destroying the machinery…


Freedom is one of those abstract and elusive ideas which, in the English language, evokes some of the most profound feelings of awe and wonder.

Encapsulated in that single term are ideas of democracy, aspiration, and equality under the rule of law. Running within its veins is the principle that governments exist to facilitate our individual choices and the pursuits which we set our minds towards.

Photo: Pixabay

The common law system of the Anglosphere, unlike civil law in some European democracies, is based on the idea that constraints to human freedom should be by exception, rather than by default, and that…


Across the full spectrum of government activity, technology is absorbing the processes and infrastructure which keeps the country moving.

Since 2011, the Government Digital Service (GDS) has sought to promote ‘Government as a Platform’ — a concept whereby the government shares a common set of digital systems, technology, and processes which enable it to develop services fit for the digital age.

This has been a huge step towards leveraging the benefits which technology presents in order to make government more effective and more efficient.

The Cabinet Office is clearly committed to standing by their ‘digital by default’ mantra and the…

Tom Bell

Cyber Security Consultant at Roke, Researcher @UniofSouthampton. Local Councillor in #Southampton. Author of ‘Programming: A Primer’. www.tomjbell.com

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