Newsletter No.4 — Sep 24, 2017

Sentiers No.4

Heads up: For a couple of reasons related to early writing methods, the first forty-five issues archived here are “pre last review” and haven’t been fully re-reviewed yet. Please forgive typos and miscellaneous mistakes if you see them! They are also less structured than more recent issues and thus haven’t been split into multiple notes. (Yet?)

Issue 4 already, almost a month gone by. Thanks for joining and for the good comments. There are no real analytics on this platform so I don’t know what you click, hit reply for feedback but also for what’s especially interesting or useless. Do forward to friends when you enjoy the newsletter.
If you are in Montréal, I’ll be starting up a new (unrelated) relaxed coffee discussion every month. It’s called Les ponts, it started from this post and you can get on the notification list here.

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Unaccountability & Data
Last week I glossed over the Equifax debacle because I was bored with it but forgot to link to this excellent piece; Equifax’s Maddening Unaccountability which shows how in non-software fields, there is much greater accountability and it needs to change in software. Pair with this one; Let’s Tax the Collection and Storage of Personal Information on the huge risks resulting from data theft, how big tech is hoarding our data unsafely and why we should tax their grabbing and keeping of our data. (I quite love this idea, btw.)

Access Economy
Back in March I wrote [fr], where I was proposing that our local (excellent) Uber alternative could/should have been a platform coop instead of a company. This week Transport for London (TFL) and the (awesome) Mayor of London denied an operating licence to Uber. Great moment to reconsider possible models, as this article proposes; New Economics Foundation calls for ‘Khan’s Cars’ as mutually-owned alternative to Uber

Building a City: Regulating the Sharing Economy in Amsterdam
An actual existing and inspiring sharing (I prefer “access” which is what it usually is) policy in Amsterdam.

Don’t Be Scared About The End Of Capitalism—Be Excited To Build What Comes Next

It would be a sad and defeated world that simply accepted the prebaked assumption that capitalism (or socialism, or communism) represents the last stage of human thought; our ingenuity exhausted.
An important line of thinking and many interesting projects and people listed in there.
Note that the best Fast Company articles are often the ones starting with the disclaimer: “This story reflects the views of these authors, but not necessarily the editorial position of Fast Company.”

Drones in Africa
This was mostly blue sky speculation not that long ago but now Zipline Launches Medical Supply Drone Deliveries in Tanzania and there are Machine-Vision Drones Monitor Animals in the African Savanna. It’s not all dystopia and hurricanes after all! (If for a moment you gloss over other potential uses of these drones.)

Suburbs & Business Parks
The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here
I don’t see how this model could possibly spread quickly enough to have a big impact and it doesn’t propose anything for the resilience of existing suburbs but still, the portrait he paints for these future suburbs is interesting to ponder.

Silicon Valley’s less-than-revolutionary office concepts
The great visions, blind spots and missed opportunities of GAFA’s (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) offices.

The much-heralded revolution in working turned out to be a collection of childish tropes borrowed from ad agencies — the foosball and ping-pong tables, the breakout spaces and cafés in caravans, the nagging feeling that you were in an adult kindergarten rather than a place of serious thinking.

Requiem For a Scream
The brilliant Laurie Penny on the link we think we see between art and madness and how it does a great disservice to art and artists.

Human beings have a habit of romanticizing the things we are reluctant to understand. Whether it’s love, or death, or women, anything that fundamentally frightens us eventually gets dressed up in ornate stories that obscure more than they reveal.

Blame Henry Ford for Deadly Superbugs
Ford, soy, WW2, chicken, antibiotics and superbugs, this article has it all. The things we do to animals in our food industry…

Nearly all the chickens eaten in the world now have genetics controlled by two companies, Aviagen Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc.’s Cobb-Vantress. As Genoways points out, the genetics of the livestock feed supply—corn and soy—are similarly homogeneous. Ninety percent of the crops in the soybean market and nearly three-quarters of those in the corn market are “Roundup Ready,” as Monsanto Co. and DuPont Pioneer have dubbed them, genetically modified to be resistant to the widely used pesticide Roundup. That lets farmers apply the pesticide heavily—breeding pesticide-resistant weeds.

Four book series that are shaping the future of science fiction on television
Much more interesting for the list of books therein than for the future of television.

Dime novels

The dime novel is a form of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S. popular fiction issued in series of inexpensive paperbound editions. The term dime novel has been used as a catchall term for several different but related forms, referring to dime novels, story papers, five- and ten-cent weeklies, "thick book" reprints, and sometimes early pulp magazines.
(Via the launch of Field Notes’ Dime Novel edition.)

Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses

In Jervis Bay, off Eastern Australia, researchers recently spotted 15 gloomy octopuses congregating, communicating, dwelling together, and even evicting each other from dens at a site the scientists named “Octlantis.”