October 23, 2023

Interesting Things on the Internet: October 23rd 2023 Edition

  • High speed rail and what Britain can learn from the Baltics. I wonder if the "high speed" bit of HS2 has been part of the problem, focusing attention on how quickly we can get to London. The focus on London definitely has, as ever. I'm not especially bothered about getting to London more quickly; getting around the country, and having more freight travel by rail, would be great, and being able to catch a sleeper from Liverpool Lime St (or even Crewe) to the Continent would be excellent!
  • Green Scared? Some Lessons From the FBI Crackdown on Eco-activists. "Those who consider obeying the law more important than abiding by one’s conscience always try to frame themselves as the responsible ones, but the essence of that attitude is the desire to evade responsibility. Society, as represented—however badly—by its entrenched institutions, is responsible for decreeing right and wrong; all one must do is brainlessly comply, arguing for a change when the results are not to one’s taste but never stepping out of line. That is the creed of cowards, if anything is" I'm not, I think, arguing particularly for breaking the law in choosing that quote—I haven't read How to Blow Up a Pipeline after all—but we do need more challenging of, and refusal to accept, the status quo.
  • Why can't our tech billionaires learn anything new? There's been lots of talk on Mastodon, and elsewhere, this week about a whiny manifesto from a tech billionaire. I haven't read it. I have read this response to it, and it makes lots of sense. "What makes Andreessen’s 90’s retread so odd is the way he frames it as a challenge to the status quo. Technological optimism has been the dominant paradigm throughout my adult life. We have spent decades clapping for Andreessen and his buddies. We have put them on magazine covers. We stopped regulating tech monopolies. We cut taxes for the wealthy. We trusted that they had some keen insight into what the oncoming future would look like. We assumed that the tech barons ultimately had our best interests at heart. [...] The most powerful people in the world (people like Andreessen!) are optimists. And therein lies the problem: Look around. Their optimism has not helped matters much."
  • How to Be a Better Reactionary: Time and Knowledge in Technology Regulation. Less worrying about imagined possible futures; more worrying about the existing problems we can see happening now.
Posted by Adrian at October 23, 2023 01:12 PM | TrackBack

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