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January 19, 2015

Interesting Things on the Internet: January 19th 2015

  • The Toxoplasma Of Rage. Divisiveness and trolling on the Internet is nobody's fault, it's just an emergent effect of the systems we've built. An illuminating angle on why social (and traditional) media can become so polarized. I wonder how we break the cycle?
  • Towards the sociocratic museum. What should our modern museums and cultural institutions look like? How should they work? What should we be preserving? Some interesting food for thought.
  • The Cathedral of Computation. Here’s an exercise: The next time you see someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with “God” and ask yourself if the sense changes any.
  • The Data Sublime. Maybe the risk of our increasingly computer-directed future isn't that some big corporation will be in control, but rather that they will just look like they are.
  • Among the Disrupted "Here is a humanist proposition for the age of Google: The processing of information is not the highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire, and neither is competitiveness in a global economy."
  • A Basic Income Guarantee. I think this is a good idea. It would definitely let lots more people pursue their business ideas.
  • To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This "It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time."
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Blog All Dog-eared Pages: The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs is, rightly, regarded as a defining influence in human-centred urbanism or city planning. Her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities is considered a classic and so was required reading for someone like me, with an interest in how we look to affect our cities.

It's a bit of a behemoth - almost 600 pages in the edition I have - and took me a while to work through. I'm not sure how much of a feel you'll really get for it from these notes, but it's a really interesting and thought-provoking read. It's taken me quite some time to get my notes written up (I finished the book sometime in 2013!) but that's because of the sheer density of notes I made through the book.

I didn't agree with absolutely everything in it, but we could learn much about how to improve our towns and cities, and how to improve the way we go about "regenerating" them if more planners, politicians, and citizens had read this.

Continue reading "Blog All Dog-eared Pages: The Death and Life of Great American Cities"
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January 12, 2015

Interesting Things on the Internet: January 12th 2015

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January 05, 2015

Interesting Things on the Internet: January 5th 2015

  • Governing through unhappiness. Audit, targets and managerialism as tools to control and emasculate. We need to start setting different parameters for success, ones that can't easily be quantified.
  • On Nerd Entitlement. Such a shame that the alternate response to the geeks inheriting the earth hasn't won out, that we remember what it's like and help those less powerful.
  • Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty and then Eric's follow-up post Well, That Escalated Quickly. A sobering warning that algorithms can easily go wrong. More diversity in our teams will help mitigate, although not eliminate, this sort of thing. "Move fast and break things" is just a fun quote until you realise the things being broken are people. (Like Eric, I don't think this is just a problem with Facebook, it's just unfortunate for them that their famous quote explains the problem so aptly).
  • City link, co-determination, and destiny. Interesting thoughts from Matt Webb about the new forms of firm that it turns out aren't quite so new (I don't know how long City Link have been going, but they pre-date Uber by quite some time...). It often feels like unions and the traditional left/right politics are fighting an old, long-gone battle, and this sort of thing shows that to be true. It's not about workers vs. bosses any more, but still about asymmetry of power, and finding ways to challenge that.
  • In 2015, we’ll need different words to talk about the future. Words are important.
  • How To Pay Attention: 20 Ways To Win The War Against Seeing. Some good exercises to do in that. It reminds me a bit of Noticings.
  • Really Bad Powerpoint. Good presentation tips from Seth Godin.
  • How My Mom Got Hacked. Welcome to the new normal. We need more geeks working out how to combat this.

And this week, an excellent video of Eric Rodenbeck talking about running his data-viz agency Stamen:

Posted by Adrian at 01:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

December 29, 2014

Winter Stroll Around Scammonden Water

In the run up to Christmas I was meant to catch up with one of my mates, who lives over in Yorkshire. Luckily, in hindsight, for a number of reasons that didn't happen, and got rescheduled to the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. That meant that we headed out onto the hills for a walk the day after the snow had swept across the country.

I'd found this walk around Scammonden Water which turned out to be almost the perfect route: up on the moors but easy to get to from Huddersfield (which is easy to reach by train from Liverpool), not too strenuous or long, and - apart from a short stretch alongside the M62 - lovely views.

There were a good three or four inches of snow, which made everywhere look fantastic and provided good yomping. A perfect way for us to catch up on life and build our appetite for a trip to the curry house later. Recommended.

There are a few (not particularly great) photos in my Scammonden Water walk album.

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Interesting Things on the Internet: December 29th 2014

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December 22, 2014

December 15, 2014

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 15th 2014

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December 01, 2014

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 1st 2014

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November 24, 2014

Interesting Things on the Internet: November 24th 2014

  • 44 engineering management lessons. Lot of good advice, some of which I manage to follow...
  • It’s hard to build a good web. It's good to see some of the people building decent web "properties" exploring ways to thrive. Go support them.
  • Metafoundry 15: Scribbled Leatherjackets. A good critique of Making. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, although I agree with some of it. It is always about the people, not the things. Maybe if more people answered "a difference", or "a community", or "I make do (and mend)" to the question "What do you make?" then we'd be moving in the right direction. But she's right, the celebration of Making is really just railing against the busywork and churn of making things of no (real) value in order to further line the pockets of the rich. Making isn't really the right term to latch onto, as many people make the world a worse place. It's tricky to find a better alternative though.
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