Tom Slee | Jacobin | 24th January 2014
Critique of the "sharing economy". Platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Homejoy invoke progressive values such as decentralisation, sustainability, community and trust in their business models. But that is marketing, mainly. The bigger the sector grows, the more it is captured by relatively conventional, centralised, profit-drive actors who use aspects of the sharing model to evade regulation
Tessa Brown | American Reader | 24th January 2014
On the genius of Kanye West. "His reception, as he well knows, is deeply informed by a powerful American history of racialised rhetoric. Since the Jim Crow days of lynching — days that West has explicitly invoked in his art — watching uppity black men suffer and burn has been a central preoccupation of the media-consuming American public. West’s problem, our problem with him, is that, burned again and again, he refuses to stay dead"
Zeeya Merali | Nature | 23rd January 2014
Popular science update. Film makers, please take note. Matter entering a black hole would not get squashed to nothing, nor fried. It would get "highly scrambled so that, as it is released through Hawking radiation, it would be in a vastly different form, making it almost impossible to work out what the swallowed objects once were ... It would be worse than trying to reconstruct a book that you burned from its ashes"
Stephen Fry | New Adventures | 24th January 2014
"If you compare computers to offices, the Mac was the equivalent of the most beautifully designed colourful space, with jazzy carpets on shiny oak floors, a pool table, wooden beams, a cappuccino machine, posters and great music playing. The rest of the world trudged into Microsoft’s operating system: a grey, soulless partitioned office, with nylon carpets, flickering fluorescent lamps and a faintly damp smell"
Kori Schake | Defining Ideas | 23rd January 2014
Discussion of The Causes of War by Geoffrey Blainey. It's not new, but it's "a wonderful book" rooted in game theory. War is "usually the outcome of a diplomatic crisis which cannot be solved because both sides have conflicting estimates of their bargaining power.” Each thinks it could win a war easily. As a result, "leaders are typically optimistic when commencing a war" — and more bellicose when the economy is turning up
Thought for the day:
"Procrastination is the thief of compound interest" — Venkatesh Rao
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