Weekend Reading

  • If you inject enough poison into the political bloodstream, somebody will get sick
    Contempt for politicians has been on the rise for years. But this EU referendum campaign has torn away at the veil that divides civility from mayhem For weeks, months and years “politician” has been a word more spat out than said.
    I don’t really want to dwell on ‘Brexit’, which has become an excuse for hatred in many forms.
  • Be Careful What You Code For
    Most people who don’t code don’t appreciate how hard it is to do right. Plenty of developers are perfectly functional, but to watch a master weave code into silken beauty is utterly inspiring.
    I work with coders and appreciate some of this, worth thinking on next time you use some software (like you are right now) there are many consequences for how software is delivered than you may realise.
  • Donald Trump and the Backlash Against Political Correctness
    He lives near San Francisco, makes more than $50,000 per year, and is voting for the billionaire to fight against political correctness. For several days, I’ve been corresponding with a 22-year-old Donald Trump supporter.
    When politics isn’t really about politics, it’s about lack of awareness and education.
  • Pornucopia
    I don’t remember how old I was when I had my first encounter with pornography, but I must have been around 10 – the experience is entwined with the sound of the AOL dial-up tone. It was something relatively benign – a close-up photo of some genitalia – and I wasn’t much shocked.
    Does pornography really drive the behaviours we think it does? (and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you read this article).
  • Some Things I Say To My Dog
    I ran into the neighbor gal coming in the back door the other day and she mentioned that she could sometimes hear me talking to my dog. I’m fully aware that I spend a good deal of time conversing with my dog, but I was nonetheless taken aback.
    At once wonderful and melancholy, but a wonderful wonderful example of the value of having a pet.
  • Did Jesus Have a Wife?
    A hotly contested, supposedly ancient manuscript suggests Christ was married. But believing its origin story—a real-life Da Vinci Code, involving a Harvard professor, a onetime Florida pornographer, and an escape from East Germany—requires a big leap of faith.
    I’m still amazed that a fictional work still evokes such debate. Just add a new chapter already!
  • Bozoma Saint John Was Badass Long Before Apple
    For the first hour or so, Apple’s annual WWDC conference was every bit as exciting as you’d expect. Which is to say, not very. A-list execs like Kevin Lynch, Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue droned on and on about updates to this, improvements to that. Then Bozoma Saint John took the stage.
    Good read and why putting ‘Boz’ on stage wasn’t a calculated move to tick some boxes.
  • New York City discards millions of pounds of dead electronics each year. We follow its path from shelf to shredder
    Gadget shopping? Chances are that as soon as you plunk down cash for a new smartphone or 9.7-inch tablet or 4K / 3D / LED flatscreen television, a tiny part of your brain is already plotting its disposal.
    File under: one of those articles I know I had to read but wish I hadn’t. Our poor Earth.
  • Striking Aerial Drone Photos Show how Apartheid Still Shapes South African Cities
    Johnny Miller was just starting out as a photographer in Seattle in 2011 when he won a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship that took him to Cape Town, South Africa—a country that, like his own, has a long history of institutional racism and segregation.
    Every photo tells… etc etc. Stark.
  • The ultimate 21st-Century word?
    The voice shouted from the crowd, in the manner of a rabble-rousing protestor on a march. But this was no banner-waving activist, and the crowd in this instance was made up of members of the 127-year-old American Dialect Society.
    Proof of how language is so powerful and continues to evolve. I struggle with this pronoun at times but knowing how to use it helps.
  • An MIT Algorithm Predicts the Future by Watching TV
    The next time you catch your robot watching sitcoms, don’t assume it’s slacking off. It may be hard at work.
    The machines are getting smarter.
  • Human Or Machine: Can You Tell Who Wrote These Poems?
    Can a computer write a sonnet that’s indistinguishable from what a human can produce? Computer scientists at Dartmouth College tried to answer that question with a competition that NPR’s Joe Palca reported on as part of his series, Joe’s Big Idea.
    The machines really are getting smarter.
  • Why bad ideas refuse to die
    In January 2016, the rapper BoB took to Twitter to tell his fans that the Earth is really flat. “A lot of people are turned off by the phrase ‘flat earth’,” he acknowledged, “but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know … grow up.”
    Why you shouldn’t believe everything you read, or should you?
  • Are We Smart Enough To Control AI?
    One of the most intriguing public discussions to emerge over the past year is humanity’s wrestling match with the threat and promise of artificial intelligence.
    The machines are now so smart we are now worried about how to ‘control’ them (spotted the theme here yet?!)
  • Invisible Immigrant
    I moved to Scotland from Malawi as a baby when my father was accepted into a university in Glasgow. While my childhood was predominantly Scottish, my parents provided me and my sisters with scattered Malawian cultural knowledge.
    How to survive being a stranger in a familiar land.
  • #SafetyPin: The simple way to show solidarity with the UK’s immigrant population
    One of the ugliest side effects of the UK’s decision to leave the EU last week has been a sharp increase in reported hate crimes.
    I know not everyone agrees with how these came to be (the idea came from a white privileged male) but as an idea I’m a fan.
  • Study finds boredom can lead to political extremism
    New research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology has found a link between boredom and political extremism. “Boredom puts people on edge: It makes them seek engagements that are challenging, exciting, and that offer a sense of purpose.”
    Interesting if frustrating read. I get bored but I don’t turn to extremism.
  • ‘Tesla Solar’ Wants to Be the Apple Store for Electricity
    Tesla Motors Inc.’s bid to buy the biggest U.S. rooftop solar installer has little to do with selling cars. Rather, it’s about solving two of the biggest problems standing in the way of the next solar boom. And perhaps a good deal more.
    Tesla continues to intrigue, if they get these things right, it will be a substantial change.
  • The Elements of Stickers
    Besides invisible messages, bigger and predictive emoji, full-screen effects, and movie/TV GIFs, Apple recently announced that stickers, too, are finally coming to its most popular app, iMessage.
    I was pretty dismissive of the new changes coming to iMessage but I already know I’ll overuse them and annoy the crap outta everyone 🙂
  • The Fugitive, His Dead Wife, and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory That Explains Everything
    It was late on New Year’s Eve, the early hours of 2002. The emergency call came in at 1:40 A.M., and Denver police arrived at the Victorian house on Clayton Street within minutes.
    Just your run of the mile murder, conspiracy and extradition case then. I do love me a good government conspiracy theory!
  • Here’s Horror: Why ‘The Shining’ Still Terrifies Us
    “The Shining” may have been released thirty-six years ago, but it still occupies as much real estate in our cultural imagination as it did when it first lurched into theaters on a wave of gushing blood and geometric wallpaper.
    Yup, this about nails it for me. My favourite Kubrick, still sets me on edge whenever I watch it. Red Rum!!!
  • The truth about life in an open relationship
    An Irish professional has credited the LGBT network set up within her company for giving her the courage to open up about her sexuality with her colleagues.
    Nice to see some good reporting about polyamory.
  • Tony Hawk Lands 900 At 48!
    17 years to the day after making the first 900, Tony Hawk pushes himself to the breaking point and battles through this personal goal. Tony says this might be his last 900 ever. His determination and drive are just as admirable as making the trick.
    And to think some days I struggle to get up off the sofa!
  • A.I. Downs Expert Human Fighter Pilot In Dogfight Simulation
    Retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee in simulated air combat versus an A.I. In the military world, fighter pilots have long been described as the best of the best. As Tom Wolfe famously wrote, only those with the “right stuff” can handle the job.
    The machines are getting very very dangerously smart!! (seriously, we all know where this is heading, right?! SKYNET, people!!)
  • Conviction vacated, new trial granted for Adnan Syed of ‘Serial’
    Syed, now 35, has been serving a life sentence since 2000, when he was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee the year before. The body of Lee, a classmate of his at Woodlawn High School, was found buried in Baltimore’s Leakin Park.
    If you haven’t listened to the first series of the Serial podcast. You should. If you have then … WOW! This is big news!