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August 31, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: August 31st 2015
- The real power of free markets: not efficiency, but innovation and dumb luck. Can we stop only chasing efficiency now please?
- How to Beat Procrastination. Not really anything new, but a timely reminder, well presented.
- Solutions don’t scale, questions do. Matt Edgar with some good tips on service- and culture-design.
- The End of the Internet Dream. I'm torn on this one, I don't believe in mass surveillance and censorship, but I also don't believe in bullying, doxxing... I guess it's that I'm against abuse of power, and that's a constant balance and struggle for society.
- "Means Well" Technology and the Internet of Good Intentions "the precise problems of pushing technology on those that you think will need it, the elderly, when it is actually you that needs it to validate the fact you’re not a terrible child to your aging parents."
- Change you can engage with. Excellent analysis of how people should be trying to encourage political change (assuming you don't want to start an actual revolution...)
- By Hand & Brain. An excellent series of essays about craft, making, and culture, from a bunch of interesting people.
August 17, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: August 17th 2015
- The hacker ethos is wild and anarchic, indifferent to the trappings of success. Or it was, until the gentrifiers moved in. I do wonder if gentrification is an inevitable pattern, or if there are better alternatives.
- Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato.
- PostCapitalism: a Review. Good review of Paul Mason's PostCapitalism.
- “I am very taken with the notion that, statistically, we almost certainly do not exist” – Leila Johnston, Hack Circus. "In short, I want people to see that things don’t ‘have’ to be done in a certain way."
August 10, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: August 10th 2015
- You can't fix services with engagement. Excellent insight from Russell. I wonder if part of the problem is that it's easy to hire a "social media" agency to bolt on this service, whereas fixing things properly requires deeper changes to your organisation. Something I touched on a while back.
- "People call him a “curmudgeon”, but they don’t really understand how much love, how much actual faith, that kind of skepticism takes.[...] Only when you fully believe in how wonderful something is supposed to be does every little daily indignity start to feel like some claw of malaise." - Leigh Alexander.
- Labour through the looking glass: 15 early-morning speculations on the Corbyn surge. I haven't been following the Labour leadership contest at all, but the Corbyn-surge has filtered through into my general awareness. I don't know how likely any of Dougal's imagined future is, but it makes heartening reading, and it's good to see someone articulating a better future and one way that it could come to pass.
August 03, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: August 3rd 2015
- The Myth of the Ethical Shopper. Ethical supply chains requires more than just voting with our wallets.
- Watch and listen to 8,500 programmes on the BBC website. Great to see the BBC cataloguing all of their content, and pointing to places where it's available online too!
- How much longer can food banks pick up the pieces?. The Government is consistently making us a less civilised country.
- You're already dead. The last link shows why we sorely need progressive politicians with some actual beliefs. This article, sadly, does a great job of showing how far the Labour party are from anything resembling that. Which is a disgrace.
- "The best way for doubters to control a questionable new technology is to embrace it, lest it remain wholly in the hands of enthusiasts who think there is nothing questionable about it.". Stewart Brand on new tech.
- On Moving Lines and Network Life. Good, level-headed article from Quinn Norton calling for better security and more regulation of software, among other things.
July 27, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: July 27th 2015
- Web Design: The First 100 Years. Maciej's talks are always excellent, and this is no exception. "Fixing the world with software is like giving yourself a haircut with a lawn mower. It works in theory, but there's no room for error in the implementation."
- The Violence of Algorithms.
- Is innovation faltering - or is GDP? Some serendipitous background to my tweet the other day.
- Fairly Random Thoughts on Ashley Madison & the Swiftly Moving Line. Rather than the web-we-lost, this is the web-we-built-and-the-huge-gaping-problems-in-that.
- Here’s the solution to the Uber and Airbnb problems — and no one will like it, and digging into that in more detail there's also . The how-companies-are-accountable-to-their-workforce (or the *handwave* not really a workforce, they're private contractors, honest) part needs more development, but there are some interesting ideas in there worth exploring further.
- The Verge's web sucks. I'm sure it's not just the Verge, but downloading 9.5MB and hitting over 20 different sites for ads, tracking, etc. in order to read a sinlge article is crazy and bloated.
- "If you think about it in that light, it makes the achievements of the socialist bloc seem pretty impressive: a country like Russia managed to go from a backwater to a major world power with everyone working maybe on average four or five hours a day. But the problem is they couldn’t take credit for it." Interesting perspective on the morality of work.
- The Art of the Car Chase. Fantastic supercut of movie chase scenes. Jason is right, the Indiana Jones/Alex Foley segment is sublime.
July 20, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: July 20th 2015
- The ethics of digital design. "Startups are optimised for shaking up vulnerable industries rather than assessing the resulting social, legal and ethical impact. Progress itself is the yardstick; whether that progress is in a worthwhile direction is sometimes secondary."
- Unintended Consequences. "Big data is made of people"
- The Web We Have to Save. Amen to all of this.
- everything is recapitulation. Nick Sweeney expands eloquently on the Web We Have to Save.
- A World Without Work. Interesting things for us to be considering, as software eats the world. Maybe the arts and caregiving could become ways that people show they're "adding value" in order to get paid more than the universal citizen's income?
- David Brooks, Commencement Address.
- Thinking Liverpool. Paul's excellent curated mailing list of interesting events in Liverpool.
- The end of capitalism has begun. Paul Mason offers some optimism compared to the web-we-lost and future of work...
July 06, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: July 6th 2015
- Some notes on funding 65 just received. Fantastic skewering of the economic-development-business-speak that pervades our lives. "But even if ‘economic growth’ is the primary mandate for the future responsibilities of music, then this isn’t the way to do it. Stop closing community centres. Stop destroying the welfare state. Stop making it impossible for poorer people to have any opportunity to do anything other than constantly struggle for survival, leaving holes in culture that will inevitably be filled by rich kids with nothing to write about."
- Innovation out of context. Leila Johnston on fine form talking about innovation.
- The curious frontier of red. Experimental research through graffiti, or a graffiti artists 18-month playful battle with the council.
- Sit down, shut up and pass it on. If you do just one thing for equality in tech...
June 26, 2015
Threads of Diversity
Rather than fold them into the usual Interesting Things on the Internet(tm)... post, I'd like to point to a few articles that have crossed my path of late...
- Stafford Beer: the man who could have run the world.
- The gentrification and petrification of London’s heart.
- Float like a Fab Lab, sting like a Honey Bee.
I think there's a thread of diversity-is-good running through all of them, alongside - with the exception of the FT article on the petrification of London - thoughts on better ways to organise things. They also all challenge the orthodoxy, so although there's a fair chance they'd improve the lives of the many, there's a risk (and only a risk) of that being to the cost of the ruling classes, and so would need actively pursuing as ideas.
As ever, it shows most things have been done before, despite our love of the seemingly new. There are plenty (almost too many - I'm not sure where to start... any pointers?) of writings from Stafford-Beer, but less information about the Lucas Plan (discussed, including video of a documentary about it, in the Fab Lab article).
I wonder if any of the people behind the Lucas Plan are still around, and if they'd be interested in sharing their experiences with those of us experimenting with the latest wave of similar projects...
June 22, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: June 22nd 2015
June 15, 2015
Interesting Things on the Internet: June 15th 2015
- Wherever something is wrong, something is too big. I think there's a definitely some truth in that, for many things.
- We Need A Modern Origin Story: A Big History. An interesting take on how science and art could meet and help us understand the world.
- Productivity Quest: Email. Lots of good advice, some of which, I'll hopefully remember to implement more frequently!