One of the main ideas of diablog is to provide you with “stuff” for water cooler talk. Sometimes we get side tracked, or more accurately, I take you off that track. One of the reasons, I suck at small talk.
The weather? It is what it is, and all scientists cannot predict what it will be tomorrow. See the recent “Blizzard Juno”, what a joke that prediction was. It is winter, we got some snow, what a surprise!
Sports? I could not care less. Who is playing the Superbowl this Sunday? I have no clue. This Sunday I will be at some party/event, not watching the game. Instead I will indulge in food and drinks and conversations.
If you are like me, when it comes to small talk, the All Souls College at Oxford University provides some help. Their entrance exam has a few questions, which make for an interesting (party) conversation, or if you want to get to know somebody. Here are a few examples from the archive.
1. Did the left or the right win the twentieth century?
2. Should intellectuals tweet?
3. Should states control their borders?
4. Is vegetarianism the future?
5. Should all citizens receive a basic income from the state?
6. Should airlines be permitted to charge passengers according to their weight?
7. ‘Secure people dare.’ Do they?
8. Should prisoners be allowed to watch television?
9. What, if anything, is wrong with using drones in warfare?
10. What are universities for?
1. Do we police disciplinary boundaries too rigorously?
2. Have historical novelists done more than historians to recover the life and texture of the
3. Is the UN correct to identify linguistic diversity as a basic human good?
4. Is the ﬁnancial sector larger than it should be?
5. Have changes in attitudes towards the human body been vastly exaggerated?
6. Can we be forced to be free?
7. Does human behavior remain the same, only “vices” change?
8. How can words be beautiful?
9. Should the judiciary be representative of the society which it serves?
10. Can policy rely on human rationality?
In all cases, one can argue either side. And it is more fun to see how one argues, than the actual result. But at least you do not have to discuss the weather or sports.