Archive for November, 2017

The six reasons why we punish people

Monday, November 13th, 2017 | Religion & Politics

I studied law at high school and I was very good at it. But one thing I could never get my head around was the six aims of sentencing. When it came to punishing people, what was the point of any of it, other than rehabilitation? Surely that was our only job?

Times of changed and now I am older and wiser. My idealistic view of humans has taken a kicking at the hands of Steven Pinker and Michael Shermer. So, here are the other five aims of sentencing and why they are important.


Never had a problem with this one. If you can make it right, you should. I don’t think that view would be in any way controversial.


A necessary evil. Sometimes we need to lock people up to stop them hurting other people, or even themselves.

Detterence and denunication

I’ll put denunciation in here because there is a lot of overlap with general deterrence. Specific deterrence is making the individual criminal think twice before doing it again; general deterrence is making wider society think twice before doing it in the first place.

Both of these are important. Why? Because people are not inherently good. They’re not evil, either. They’re just people.

And, ultimately, people weigh up the consequences of their actions. And if the risk is worth the prize, they risk it.

So, you need carrot and stick. You need to give them a job and a place in the community to give them something to lose if they commit a crime. But you also need to make the deal not worthwhile with some stick, too.


This is the most contested aim of sentencing: punishing people because they deserve to be punished.

Why do we need to do this? Because people want to live in a fair world. And it causes us distress when that view is broken. When you find out there has been wrong-doing, you feel bad. You physically feel it. It makes us sad when we hear about unfairness.

So, crimes have to be punished. Just for the sake of adding an extra wrong, because, as we adults know, two wrongs do genuinely make a right. When someone is punished, it restores a sense of fairness to the universe and we all feel better.

30 Days of Action: Day 12

Sunday, November 12th, 2017 | Life

I was so busy smashing the inaugural Go Tri: Temple Newsam today that I had little time for business concerns. But here is what I’ve done…

I’ve scheduled the release of week 7 of my course, Running for Anxiety.

I’ve completed all of the captions for my new course, Mindfulness for Social Anxiety. Those are now live. Yesterday, I invited some of the loyal fans of WAM to be the first to sign up for the course and the first six people already have.

Gendered cycling helmets

Sunday, November 12th, 2017 | Sport

Recently, Elina and I bought cycling helmets. You may think that they would just be one design for everyone. After all, men and women have basically the same head. Sure, men have larger heads, on average, but that isn’t a reason to gender them: just make them in a variety of sizes.

But that isn’t how it works. Men, who presumably spend more money on such gear, get a range of sizes. And features. Mine, for example, has MIPS. This is the latest safety standard to protect my head in the event of a crash.

Sounds good.

Elina on the other hand, bought a woman’s helmet. Here is what hers has:

Yep, it has a little hole where you can put your hair through. It’s not even special. I can do that with my helmet.

30 Days of Action: Day 11

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 | Life

Weekends are family days. So, today I did Parkrun, met up with Fonze, Sarah and Zara for a family trip to Tropical World, had a quick pint with Bogdan and Dobson, and then had Chris and Christina over for dinner. Now, I’m tired.

But, while I am still clinging on to consciousness, and while I was waiting for Parkun this morning, I’ve been adding subtitles to my new course. Three modules done, two to go.

Announcing Mindfulness for Social Anxiety

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 | Health & Wellbeing

After much hard work, I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new course, Mindfulness for Social Anxiety. It follows on from the free 5-Day Mindfulness for Anxiety that already has thousands of students registered.

30 Days of Action: Day 10

Friday, November 10th, 2017 | Life

Back to the grind today. Development psychology and statistics were on the schedule. I have finally polished off two of the books I have to read, thus reducing my stack to about eight.

Meanwhile, in terms of progress…

Mindfulness for Social Anxiety is now live and available to buy on Udemy! I’ve scheduled an email to go out to my list tomorrow inviting them to join the course.

I’ve finished the first round of editing on my book and done a full spellcheck, too. It’s now been passed to my editing team (Elina) for further review.

And I’ve finished the HTML version of the personalised reports for Worfolk Anxiety. Next up, adding PDF capability.

30 Days of Action: Day 9

Thursday, November 9th, 2017 | Life

Today has been a write-off. Venla is not too well, so I had to take her to the doctors. Except that the earliest appointment was 11 am. So, I was stuck with her all morning. And then the doctor was half an hour late.

Still, my degree’s loss is my books gain: while I couldn’t study because there was a noisy baby in the room at all times, I was at least able to organise some of the photos for my new book. Most of these are done now.

I also hit the button on Mindfulness for Social Anxiety and sent it for review. I have drafted the announcement email to my mailing list, too, so that is ready to go when the course has been approved.

This is how the 49ers can make the playoffs

Thursday, November 9th, 2017 | Sport

At 0-9 this year, some would say that things are looking pretty bad for the San Francisco 49ers.

But all hope is not lost. Indeed, there is still a chance we can make the playoffs. Here is how:

  1. The 49ers win all of their remaining games, taking them to 7-9. Not a likely result for playoffs, but possible. I think it was always Kyle Shanahan’s plan to build dramatic tension before going on a winning streak, anyway.
  2. The LA Rams, currently at 6-3, go on to lose all of their remaining games. This takes them to 6-10.
  3. The Seattle Seahawks, currently at 5-3, go on to lose all of their remaining games except for one (they have to beat the Rams). That takes them to 6-10, too.
  4. The Arizona Cardinals, currently 4-4, go on to lose all of their remaining games except for two (they have to beat the Rams and the Seahawks), which also takes them to 6-10.

Thus the division ends with San Francisco on top with 7-9, and everyone else below at 6-10.

It’s a fair bit to ask, I’ll admit. First, we need to win all seven games. Then there are another 16 games were not involved in that need to go exactly our way. Which is every other game that everyone else in the division is involved in with no margin for error.

30 Days of Action: Day 8

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 | Life

Today was all about my biopsychology exam. It went reasonably well in that I think other people were panicking more than I was afterwards. Between that and another full day of lectures, there hasn’t been a great deal of spare time.

Everything is still making progress, though.

I’ve edited together the trailer for Mindfulness for Social Anxiety and selected the course image.

I’ve started editing my new book and put together a list of photos I need to find and include.

And I’ve done some of the prep work required to add the personalised reports to Worfolk Anxiety.

November sunburn

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 | Life

Do you see that slight reddening on my nose and cheeks? That’s sunburn. November sunburn.

Admittedly, it’s very slight. But I still think it’s impressive that I managed to get sunburnt in November. Though, I am the person who was off work with acute sunburn after returning from Iceland.

It’s thanks to the Abbey Dash being both freezing and sunny.