December 28, 2020

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 28th 2020 Edition

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December 21, 2020


It's been a couple of years since I last had some music that I wanted to share on this date. I've had a few years of not collecting much new stuff—still perpetually listening to lots, but not buying any.

This year, however, I seem to have gotten back into the swing of it. Partly I've had a bit more disposable income and so have filling holes in my back catalogue, but also finding some new releases that I love.

There are two that particularly stand out, both with really strong lyrics but with very different themes.

First up, a Scouse modern-day Billy Bragg. The rest of his album is great, but this is the track that really hooked me:

The other is a much more individual topic, full of beautiful couplets summing up the bittersweet experience of a breakup—"This is how we die, become just you and I". Lovely.

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December 14, 2020

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 14th 2020 Edition

  • A Student-Debt Researcher Fucks Me Up With America’s Broken Promises "We’ve made it, like, “Oh, we don’t have to increase your wages, ever; we don’t have to let you unionize; we don’t have to make more jobs, or any of that. We can just tell you to go to college. Oh, and if it didn’t work out for you, you did it wrong. And, you should’ve also managed to not pay for it. You should’ve taken a different major, you need a different degree, you need an additional degree.” And then you do that, and then you’re a sucker." "I think that’s where debt cancellation becomes real dangerous, because it shows that this is pretend! Like, how much else is pretend, if the debt isn’t real? That’s where they freak out about moral hazard, but it’s not really about the debt, it’s like, what if people realize what we’re telling them isn’t true, about their lives? And that they could actually do what they want and deserve to be happy and be paid a decent wage no matter what work they do?"
  • Windows to the Soul. "Smiling so politely into our collective faces. Finding new places to stick the knife." So sadly true. We need better and deserve better.
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December 07, 2020

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 7th 2020 Edition

  • JRF, weeknotes 6. SO. MUCH. THIS: "The problem is that, to a non-specialist who needs help, people who are good at getting things done are indistinguishable from everyone else." Not just in digital transformation, it's across all sorts of "digital", and "innovation" and "makerspaces" (and those are just the areas where I trip over it all the time). So much mediocrity masquerading (profitably, and successfully for the mediocre if not for those in need of the expertise) as expertise. It feels like part of the wider societal trend of ever more bluster and PR and a lack of consequences for that being exposed. It's too tiring for those of us with the actual expertise to wade through all the bullshit that we give up and find more interesting games to play.
  • David Graeber - Culture is not your friend. The working class makes all culture.
  • The Mind of an Engineer, an excellent essay by Tim Hunkin.
  • I thought about that a lot. I'm enjoying each day's new essay from this site.
  • Detailed Forensic Reconstruction of the Beirut Port Explosions. Amazing work in analysing a catastrophe.
  • The further you are from power, the more you see: Gary Younge "I remember making a lot of people angry writing about Brexit and saying you can’t just say that people are being tricked because they don’t vote for their material interests, they have other interests. I may not like those interests. I am relatively well off and whenever I vote for a Left-wing party, I vote against my material interest because it’s something else that I want. We shouldn’t think that working-class people are any different. And then, we have to unpick what those interests are." There's lots more than that quote implies. It's a great read.
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