Monday, September 30, 2019

MEdia Dragons lose every battle, but optimistically think they can win the war

Almanac: David Thomson on John Huston and what it means for a film to be “great”
“I’m not sure he made a flat-out great film ever—I mean, a film as good as Chinatown, where the story works on its own terms but you know you’ve seen a parable about human nature delivered at the same time. “
David Thomson, “One Hell of a Life” (Guardian, December 1, 2006)

Creativity in captivity helps grey cells

"Often art brings people back from the brink of suicide."

“Do you feel trapped in a broken economic model?”

So starts George Monbiot’s Ted Talks presentation  The new political story that could change everything. The political “restoration” story of 90 years ago was Keynesian, the restoration story since 1980 has been neoliberalism. Ever since the crisis of 2008 we have witnessed the failure of neoliberalism, but we have also witnessed political failure, because our politicians have offered nothing to replace it: “political failure is at heart a failure of imagination”. “We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths”. Monbiot’s offering is a story about how the community can re-capture the commons – our common wealth.

Books will not Die

The Paris Review – “Increasingly, people of the book are also people of the cloud. At the Codex Hackathon, a convention whose participants spend a frenetic weekend designing electronic reading tools, I watch developers line up onstage to pitch book-related projects to potential collaborators and funders. “Uber for books”: a same-day service that would deliver library volumes to your door. “Fitbit for books”: an app that blocks incoming calls and buzzes your phone with reminders to get back to a book. That literary pedometer meets its real-world counterpart in LitCity: “Imagine walking down a city street and feeling that familiar buzz of a push notification. But instead of it being a notification on Twitter or a restaurant recommendation, it’s a beautiful passage from a work of literature with a tie to that place.” I thought back to the nineteenth-century guidebooks that inserted a snippet of Shelley next to their map of the Alps; the book has always been about bringing worlds together

RIP: The girl who executed Nazis after seducing them in bars dies aged 92.

Orangutan with human rights to begin new life in Florida BBC

banksy parliament from

Top Left: “ Devolved Parliament” (2009) by Banksy , Top Right: The official Bristol Museum  ...

Deep Bloggers v Deep Work: Open Offices Are a Capitalist Dead End

WeOne story from WeWork’s inevitable blow-up: Our offices offer few spaces for deep work.
What was We thinking? That’s the only question worth asking now about the clowncar start-up known as The We Company, the money-burning, co-working behemoth whose best-known brand is WeWork.
What’s a WeWork? What WeWork works on is work. The We Company takes out long-term leases on in-demand office buildings in more than 100 cities across the globe (lately, it’s even been buying its own buildings). Then We redesigns, furnishes and variously modularizes the digs, aiming to profitably sublease small and large chunks of office space to start-ups and even big companies. Well, profitable in theory: The We Company lost $1.7 billion last year. ...
WeWork’s Ikea-chic, couch-and-bench-furnished open office aesthetic has also become a cultural template, the sitcom backdrop for a new generation’s workplace travails. We’s founders and investors now often position their company as a workplace innovator — in forcing workers from different companies to work very closely together, We was not only a business marvel but, they suggested, also a feel-good, Goopy force for planetary collaboration and unity. ...
How did so many people put so much money into something so many were warning would end up so badly? What was We thinking?
And then it hit me: We wasn’t thinking.
WeWork? Not really. WeCan’t! We’reTooDistracted!
Much will be written in the coming weeks about how WeWork failed investors and employees. But I want to spotlight another constituency. WeWork’s fundamental business idea — to cram as many people as possible into swank, high-dollar office space, and then shower them with snacks and foosball-type perks so they overlook the distraction-carnival of their desks — fails office workers, too. ...
WeWork’s underlying idea has been an inspiration for a range of workplaces, possibly even your own. As urban rents crept up and the economy reached full employment over the last decade, American offices got more and more stuffed. On average, workers now get about 194 square feet of office space per person, down about 8 percent since 2009, according to a report by the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. WeWork has been accelerating the trend. At its newest offices, the company can more than double the density of most other offices, giving each worker less than 50 square feet of space.
As a socially anxious introvert with a lot of bespoke workplace rituals (I can’t write without aromatherapy), I used to think I was simply a weirdo for finding modern offices insufferable. I’ve been working from my cozy home office for more than a decade, and now, when I go to the Times’ headquarters in New York — where, for financial reasons, desks were recently converted from cubicles into open office benches — I cannot for the life of me get anything done.
But after chatting with colleagues, I realized it’s not just me, and not just the Times: Modern offices aren’t designed for deep work. ...

The scourge of open offices is not a new subject for ranting. Open offices were sold to workers as a boon to collaboration — liberated from barriers, stuffed in like sardines, people would chat more and, supposedly, come up with lots of brilliant new ideas. Yet study after study has shown open offices to foster seclusion more than innovation; in order to combat noise, the loss of privacy and the sense of being watched, people in an open office put on headphones, talk less, and feel terrible.

How to Unlock Your Phone on Any Major Carrier

UNEXPECTEDLY: California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

How to Unlock Your Phone on Any Major Carrier 

Consumer Reports – [Note – this is FYI only, not a recommendation or advice] – Here’s what you need to do to make a clean break with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon – “If you’re looking to save money, shopping for a new cell-phone plan is a great way to do it. As I discovered not long ago, it can trim $1,000 a year from your budget. But before you sign up for a new service, you may have to unlock your phone from your current carrier’s network. That’s not hard to do, but it helps to have a little guidance, because the process varies from phone to phone and carrier to carrier. If you didn’t specifically request an unlocked model when you purchased your phone, odds are good that it’s tied to your current network. “When you buy a locked phone, it will work only on that carrier’s service,” explains Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing at Consumer Reports.According to the Federal Communications Commission, however, the carrier must unlock your phone after the applicable service contract has expired and you’ve fully paid off the device (or forked over an early termination fee). The process can take up to two business days, but once it’s done, you’re free to take the phone to another carrier. If you’d rather not handle the breakup yourself, you can pay for a service to unlock the phone, but be careful: Federal agents recently arrested two former T-Mobile employees accused of running a fraudulent unlocking scheme. “Do your research,” Fisco says

CEO who cut his own salary to give out raises extends $70K minimum salary to new employees The Hill. UserFriendly: “I nominate him for CEO of every company.”

Beautiful people don’t always win in the workplace The Conversation

Trump Is The Deep State American Conservative
Trump Allies Predict an Impeachment Spiral Vanity Fair. Resilc: “That and $5 will get you a latte.”
If This Is Trump’s Best Case, The Ukraine Scandal Is Looking Really Bad For Him FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “But look at the approval chart on same page…up.”

First GOP governor comes out in support of Trump impeachment inquiryAxios. Resilc: “I met him this summer. He’s not a real republican.”
The Boss of Antipodean Landscapes; Paul Kelly best on ground in home-grown grand final music line-up - The Age

Number Theorist Fears All Published Math Is Wrong Motherboard

Sunday, September 29, 2019

How Dare You: RIP: The girl who executed Nazis after seducing them in bars

Just because: a rare TV appearance by E.M. Forster
E.M. Forster talks about himself and his work on Monitor. This interview was originally telecast by the BBC on December 21, 1958: (This is the ... read more

On July 2018, Forbes published (and later retracted) a badly misinformed editorial by Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the department of economics at LIU Post, titled "Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money." Clearly, Professor Mourdoukoutas would have benefited from the assistance of a librarian, who could have helped him find several economic studies related to library value.
Libraries Are Better Stewards of Taxpayer Dollars Than Corporations

  1. Do CEOs deserve their big bucks?

    The head of Lattitude could get a $50 million pay day from the company's listing. Alan Joyce received more than $23 million last financial year. Andrew Robertson asks whether these executives really deserve the big bucks they receive.

  2. Why are some so triggered by Greta Thunberg?

    There's a cruel and creepy world where it's apparently perfectly fine for adults to shred a 16-year-old to pieces, writes Lauren Rosewarne.

‘How Dare You!’ Greta Thunberg Rebukes World Leaders Nation. Resilc” “Her theatrical family roots showed up well today, Nobel, Oscar or both? As she sails home on the prince of Monaco’s tax free, high tech carbon fiber, but carbon less emitting yacht…a childhood gone, but adult career super stardom ahead…”

Greta Thunberg responds to Donald Trump's 'very happy young girl' comment with Twitter update

Greta Thunberg Rips World Leaders at the U.N. Over Climate Change YouTube. UserFriendly: “100% agree with this except I refuse to believe they are any of them that aren’t pure evil.”

RIP: The girl who executed Nazis after seducing them in bars dies aged 92.

When Copy Editors Backstopped The News Room

“It makes me crazy reading sloppy, typo-strewn copy. Ditto for readers, as has been made clear by the hundreds of emails I receive complaining about errors and inexcusable typos. The takeaway is that we just don’t care enough to give every story a good shake.” – Toronto Star

Let’s Face It: Book Publishing Has A Serious Fact-Checking Problem

“In the past year alone, errors in books by several high-profile authors … have ignited a debate over whether publishers should take more responsibility for the accuracy of their books. … While in the fallout of each accuracy scandal everyone asks where the fact checkers are, there isn’t broad agreement on who should be paying for what is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process in the low-margin publishing industry.” – The New York Times

On Monday, New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger revealed in an op-ed how a Times journalist was nearly arrested in Egypt two years ago, but was helped by the Irish (and not American) government. On Tuesday, that journalist, Declan Walsh, wrote about that experience.