Newsletter No.7 — Oct 15, 2017

Sentiers No.7

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?)

Writing this up in a cafe on a Sunday morning but I’ll have to finish a bit later on since there’s a piano here with a guy playing classical music loudly and beautifully, and it’s hard to concentrate. Nice problem to have, I know.
Unintended consequence; the time I spend on writing this newsletter is time not spent reading so my Instapaper is actually lengthening a bit and there are loads of things I'm seeing in there that I wish I had time to read and include. Hopefully I can catch up for No.8.
I haven't seen Blade Runner 2049 yet and haven't read anything about it, but I'm still including an image as header, just because.

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Want to avert the apocalypse? Take lessons from Costa Rica
How we could / should live without an obsession for GDP and growth. There is another way, we’re just not presented with it.

This is what ecologists call “de-growth”. This calls for redistributing existing resources and investing in social goods in order to render growth unnecessary. Decommoditising and universalising healthcare, education and even housing would be a step in the right direction. Another would be a universal basic income – perhaps funded by taxes on carbon, land, resource extraction and financial transactions.

AI Books
Last week I mentioned the AI retreat by Clearleft and forgot to mention this great list of Book recommendations from the Juvet AI Retreat collected by Matt Webb. (Also serves as a handy list of who was there, for further research.)

Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook
Zeynep Tufekci exposing some of the (big) holes in The Zuck’s “thinking” on neutrality and fake news.

And the unfortunate truth is that by design, business model and algorithm, Facebook has made it easy for it to be weaponized to spread misinformation and fraudulent content.

A good thread with some numbers and context on China’s massive investments in shipping and ports. By the way, a few months ago Alexis Madrigal published a great audio series about the container industry. (And if you think that sounds boring, it’s not.) Also have a look at this: From the Red Sea to Hong Kong in 10 minutes – a stunning cargo-ship timelapse.

Through the years I’ve been on and off and on the 37signals-Basecamp-Fried bandwagon but I highly recommend listening to Jason Fried - Whose Schedule Are You On? on Jocelyn K. Glei’s new podcast, loads of good stuff in there. You should probably subscribe too, I expect it to be excellent.

I’m having a ‘Digital Transformation’ right now
How digital transformation is happening to your business, not a finite process you can do quickly, and how it has “everything to do with business models, people, culture, leadership and change.”

There is a growing expectation that work should satisfy our growth as people, and be enriching. People are joining the dots between happiness and productivity. Increasingly, we will start to measure success in terms of our broader social impact as businesses.

8 Reasons the 8 Hour Workday Doesn’t Make Sense

Creative insight is usually the result of time away from our work. It’s the result of an incubation period. We need to consume, reflect and then create.

Open offices are overrated, a good 6 min video by Vox with a history of the open office.

Spain’s troubles are Europe’s opportunity
Varoufakis might be going a bit heavy on the “radical parochialism, isolationism, and atavistic nativism,” juxtaposing it to Catalonia’s case, but his vision of an opportunity for the EU is good.

The Catalonia crisis is a strong hint from history that Europe needs to develop a new type of sovereignty, one that strengthens cities and regions, dissolves national particularism, and upholds democratic norms.

Catalonia plots digital government in exile in bid for independence

We could say that the Spanish government feels as threatened by this appropriation of secrecy and opacity as it does by the possibility of Catalan independence. From arcana imperii to covert surveillance and operations by intelligence services, secrecy has largely always been the preserve of the state. This could herald the rise of a ‘radical secrecy’ – an attempt by activist groups to establish secret networks to rival those of the state.

The selection of magazines shortlisted for The Stack Awards 2017 is out, lots of great reads in there. (Although; no links to their websites? Really?)

Festering Pustule
I’ve gone back and forth on including something about this but starting with Gamergate a few years back, then black lives matter and what feels like an endless sequence of horrors being unveiled around sexism, racism, 45, and privilege or lack thereof, I’ve been educating myself on said issues. I’m still woefully unequipped to properly comment on but in the case of the Weinstein “festering pustule” I’d recommend reading Sarah Polley and listening to Emma Thompson.