February 25, 2019

Interesting Things on the Internet: February 25th 2019

  • Leeway. An excellent exploration of why we need systems which don't blindly apply a rigid set of rules. (That's the same argument for why most home automation will just annoy us with unexpected edge cases).
  • How Austerity, and a Cowardly Ruling Class, Brought About Brexit. "I want my country back too, as it happens. But I'm not kidding myself about who stole it. The Tories sold out the British people and then made the mistake of giving them one real chance to make their feelings known—and, well, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like David Cameron's face."
  • Known Assailants. A well-written account of failed social mobility in the US. Social mobility seems almost dead these days. Given the mess the upper class is currently making of the UK, it's in everyone else's (the upper class will be insulated regardless, and some are likely to profit from it...) interest to be finding ways to bring it back.
  • Building the Barbican. Fascinating report into the workers who built the Barbican. Includes such scandalous behaviour as one of the contractor companies engineering strikes to try to get out of (or renegotiate) a contract they'd under-priced in their bids, and stories of the establishment siding with management over the workers despite their valid (and relatively minor) demands.
Posted by Adrian at 01:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2019

Interesting Things on the Internet: February 11th 2019

  • Death Sentence: The Words That Bulldoze Our Cities. How bullshit aspirational marketing copy blights our city, and what it says about society.
  • An oral history of “Silicon” Roundabout. An excellent look at the development of London's tech scene and how the community came first, then the flashy offices and money showed up. Should be required reading for all the "regeneration" types, but they wouldn't want to hear what it told them.
  • A letter to Steven Pinker (and Bill Gates, for that matter) about global poverty. A robust debunking (with plenty of citations) of the "things might look bad but actually we're doing a good job of improving the lives of the global poor" claims/narrative. We're not doing well, and we could do much better, but the rich wouldn't like that (even though there's lots we could do before they'd notice any difference in their lifestyles)
  • Cambridge University deserves to sink below the rising seas. Julian on scathing form about how Oxbridge are failing and how we are failing to hold them to account. It reminds me of an excellent comment on a Metafilter thread on a similar top - "I am surprised that Oxford and Cambridge, but Oxford in particular, haven't attempted to disown so many of their alumni who went into politics and are directly related - both Labour *and* Tory, to the current useless state of British politics.

    There is no greater illustration of how empty the meaning of an Oxbridge education is than of Dominic Rabb, a man according to wikipedia who has a degree from Cambridge and a masters from Oxford, yet is so fucking stupid that he can't work out - for himself - the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing to the UK economy."

Posted by Adrian at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack