Here follow various non-mathematical writings on whatever I have happened to feel the urge or the need to write about.



  • Climate change and behaviour change (16/6/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Reflections on what to do. (8 pages)
  • Carbon Offsets for Travellers: Effective CO2 Reduction or just Guilt Relief? (25/10/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Remarks presented at a panel discussion at SFSU. (7 pages)
  • Carbon Offsetting and the Commodification of Guilt (26/2/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Some non-technical criticisms. (7 pages)
  • If You Saw... (20/9/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Poem about global warming. (5 pages)

Human Rights and Civil liberties

  • They are all weeping tonight (11/4/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Poem for the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war (didn't finish it until a few weeks later!). (4 pages)
  • Guantanamo Rally Remarks (6/3/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Speech at a rally organised by the Muslim Students Awareness Network at Stanford, March 6, 2008. (3 pages)
  • Chaplain, Red Cross Muzzled at Gitmo in 2004 (3/12/07) doc, tex, dvi, pdf). From the wikileaks.org leak of the 2004 Guantanamo Bay Camp Delta operating manual. (2 pages)
  • A Cat May Look Upon a King, but Not at Gitmo (3/12/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). More outrageous Camp Delta details: no looking at VIPs. (1 page)
  • No WMDs, but plenty of MWDs at Gitmo in 2004 (3/12/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). More outrageous Camp Delta details: dogs. (1 page)
  • A sad day for Australia (8/8/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Analysis and criticism of the atrocious decision of the High Court of Australia in Thomas v Mowbray. (10 pages)
  • The dying of the light (24/11/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Civil liberties and terrorism. (7 pages)

Stanford's infamy

  • Roble Dinner Speech (27/4/09) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). As Condoleezza Rice dined with students at Roble Hall, a Stanford undergraduate dormitory, I delivered this speech outside. Some students who heard it subsequently confronted Condoleezza Rice about torture. This confrontation was filmed and received widespread press coverage in the national media. (5 pages)
  • Prosecuting Condoleezza Rice (26/12/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). The legal possibilities. A shorter version of this article appears in the January 2009 issue of the Stanford progressive. (4 pages)
  • Nuremberg, California? (28/5/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). And increasingly so. (6 pages)
  • Rumsfeld and Stanford (31/12/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). The basic issues involved with the appointment. (2 pages)
  • Of Rumsfeld and Resolutions (31/12/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Appalling stuff in the undergraduate senate. (2 pages)

International politics

  • A celebration, and an appeal (5/11/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). On the election of Obama. (7 pages)
  • On Palin (6/10/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). In response to whether I support her or not. (2 pages)
  • International law, invasion, and occupation (29/4/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Some basic principles. (3 pages)
  • Two questions on Iraq (22/4/08) (doc, tex,, dvi, pdf). Very brief summary of some basic questions. (3 pages)
  • A sordid chapter ends... but the story continues (14/2/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). On the death of Suharto. (2 pages)
  • Wafa Sultan and Saree Makdisi (21/10/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Two very contrasting talks on campus. (3 pages)
  • APEC, Sydney and the Australian Corporate Dystopia (4/9/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). The situation as world leaders descend.
  • Brief Summary of the Situation in Oaxaca (18/11/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (3 pages)
  • Disasters in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel and the US Mainstream Media (18/7/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (4 pages)
    Also: Selected responses and replies (July 2006, compiled 3/12/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (10 pages)
  • Venezuela and FBI intimidation (31/3/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Dissident harassment on a new front. (1 page)
  • Still deterring democracy (27/2/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). US support for the Venezuelan coup of 2002. (2 pages)
  • The Revolutionary Constitution: Dreams and Reality (6/2/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Brief comments on the Bolivarian constitution of 1999. (3 pages)
  • An interesting person on the Stanford campus (1/12/04) (doc)
  • Welcome to HELL: On the Australian election (22/10/04) (tex, dvi, pdf, doc). (4 pages)


  • The Meaning of Values Education (25/9/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Recent nonsense in Australia. Updated. (15 pages)
  • A letter to Australian senators: On education "reforms" (mid-2003) (doc). (3 pages)


  • Sparking consciousness (24/3/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Strategy in the antiwar movement. (6 pages)
  • Are we crazy? (15/2/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Sometimes it feels like it... (3 pages)
  • Reclaiming language (7/2/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Which words to use? (2 pages)
  • Avoiding sectarianism (5/2/08) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). A few small reflections. (2 pages)
  • Crises in Conversation (12/6/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Thinking about the world and talking about it. (9 pages)
  • Time for Conscience at Stanford (18/4/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). On the hunger strike for a living wage. (5 pages)
  • The Battle We Won (17/6/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Brief account of the achievement and the depths of police depravity at the battle of Stanford. A fuller account below. (3 pages)
  • The Battle of Stanford (23/4/06; Addendum 26/4/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). My account of an extraordinary day on campus. (13 pages) See also the brief account above.
  • One day... in Antiwar Politics (29/9/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (9 pages)

Political and philosophical vision

  • For the New Year (31/12/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Poem about hope. (2 pages)
  • The Danger of Intellectuals (26/2/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (5 pages)
  • Eternal Vigilance (30/10/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). What it means today. (4 pages)
  • On Bliss and its Consequences (20/9/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Freud's oceanic feeling today. (11 pages)
  • How to Become an Outcast (12/9/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Satire. (4 pages)
  • Trials of a contrarian (4/9/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (6 pages)
  • A Reverie (20/7/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (2 pages)
  • Looking backward, again (21/2/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). An historicised and modernised allegory (doc, tex, dvi, pdf) of Edward Bellamy. (8 pages)
  • The gist of social evolution (11/12/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Morals on the social scale. (9 pages)
  • The preoccupation with doom (12/11/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). A disturbing tendency. (4 pages)
  • Postmodernism vs. science (31/3/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). My attempt at an explanation. (5 pages)
  • Physics and Social Thought (5/3/05) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). A cosmic ethic. (13 pages)


  • Eulogy to the NewStandard (28/4/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Lightly edited letter regarding a sad event. (2 pages)


  • Immigration and Beyond (23/4/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Basic approaches to immigration issues. (8 pages)
  • Aliens and Immigration (2004, fiction) (doc). (5 pages)


  • But health spending per capita is high in the US! (1/11/07) (doc). Response to an unlikely defence of the US health system.
  • Consumption in a sane society (25/3/07) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (66 pages)
  • Venalicium: A dialogue on markets (28/7/06) (doc, sorry no other formats unless someone tells me how to put dialogues into latex). In the grand traditions of Plato and Hofstadter. (9 pages)
  • Venezuela and Alternative Economics: One comment (31/3/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). One interesting experience. (2 pages)
  • Everyday economic insanity (29/1/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). (21 pages)

Mathematics and department politics

  • The Tao Nomination: Additional Considerations - Effort and Sacrifice vs. Genetic Predisposition (24/8/06, edited/posted 4/12/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Further thoughts about nominating him. (3 pages)
  • Terry Tao for Australian of the Year (24/8/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Why you should nominate him and how to do it. But now you can't! Nominations closed on August 28. (3 pages)
  • Free Speech and Email Lists (23/4/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). My approach to a recent issue in the department. (5 pages)
  • Australia Day 2007: I have a dream (29/1/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). The obvious choice for Australian of the Year 2007.
  • On the mathematics of crossword puzzles (6/5/05) (doc). The evils of qualifying exams. (2 pages)
  • The billionist manifesto (1998, non-serious) (txt, doc) (2 pages)


  • The Origin of Joy and Bliss (8/9/06, edited/posted 4/12/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Historical appearances of a nice phrase. (2 pages)
  • The Limerick War (3/3/06; posted 20/7/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). The largest argument over five-lined verse the world has ever seen. (1 page)
  • Games We Have Played: Zorg and Paparazzi (17/6/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf).
  • We Host a Game: BANG Appetit (17/6/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf).
  • De-anarch-ification (31/3/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf). Two recent experiences in popular culture. (2 pages)
  • An interesting plane flight... (29/1/06) (doc, tex, dvi, pdf)
  • Reflections on visiting the UN plaza (21/1/05) (doc)
  • Some touristy thoughts after one day in Auckland (5/1/05) (doc)