Peter Bye

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Opinions about Brexit can be divided into two broad groups: those that I will call ideology-based and those that are evidence-based. The dominant opinion in the first group is the question of sovereignty. It was a significant factor in the 2016 referendum and continues to motivate many of those favouring Brexit. It can be countered… » read more

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Fundamental questions

Broadly speaking, scientific research takes two forms. One is applied research, which aims at practical results, such as more efficient and smaller batteries, or electricity generation from solar power. The other form is fundamental research, which is driven by curiosity and aims to expand human knowledge without any specific practical goal in mind. However, fundamental… » read more

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As the dust settles over the wreckage left by President Trump’s visit to Europe, two things have caught my attention. The first concerns his attitude to the allies of the US, in the form of NATO and members of the EU. He gave everyone a hard time but I noticed – perhaps I am alone… » read more

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The many numbers with which we are bombarded every day can be misleading for two main reasons. First, they can simply be wrong. The most egregious example is the £350 million per week we were told by the Brexiteers during the referendum campaign that we would save on our annual payments to the EU. It… » read more

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Conditions for success

In many years of experience of IT-intensive projects, I have found that there are four conditions that must be met to maximise the chances of success. Putting it another way, if some or all of the conditions are not met, the likelihood of failure is raised. The first condition is that there must be a… » read more

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Alice X is a philosopher and historian of ideas with a global reputation. She holds a chair at a leading university in the UK, has visiting professorships in Paris, New York and Boston, and has received honorary doctorates at more than twenty universities. She specialises in contemporary European, especially French, thought and is regarded as… » read more

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The rise of the kakistocracy?

I was recently looking around for a word to describe government by the incompetent, rather as, for example, kleptocracy is government by thieves. I googled ‘government by the incompetent’ and was rewarded with the magnificent word in the title of this piece. Kakistocracy means government by the worst[1], from the Greek kakistos meaning worst and… » read more

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It’s now more than one year since the UK referendum on EU membership, and the vote to leave. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, invoked Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome at the end of March this year and then, out of the blue, called a general election. Her intention was to get a bigger… » read more

Posted by pbye