The fourth installment is proving somewhat tricky to write as yesterday was our team Xmas do and I feel a little delicate. For this reason there may also be more spelling/grammar mistakes than usual but as one of the links below shows if you point them out you are a dick. A couple of proper long reads this week, the story on the Occupy movement being a particular highlight. There is also a link from wayback in 2009 that crossed my stream this week. The links are all bundled up as an ebook links in an ebook. Enjoy the reading and I hope you never have to feel like I do today.
‘We were trapped in endless war and financial crisis, in debt and downward spiral that our leaders bickered about, but did nothing to stop. It wore away at people with the implacability of geological erosion. The American empire we never wanted in the first place was crumbling slowly, and nothing we did in our lives seemed to matter.’
‘Now that I’m a social scientist myself, or at least as close to being one as we manage to get in these early days of human civilisation, what do I think of Asimov’s belief that we can, indeed, conquer that final frontier – that we can develop a social science that gives its acolytes a unique ability to understand and perhaps shape human destiny?’
‘What I’m looking for now is more examples of startups and businesses that have been created using open data or that would not be able to continue operations without it. If big data is a strategic resource, it’s important to understand how and where organizations are using it for public good, civic utility and economic benefit.’
‘It’s not that social media gives businesses the real-time intelligence they need to work quickly. In fact, as demonstrated by the results of a study that Emily Carr University and Vision Critical conducted earlier this year, there’s every reason to think the opposite. Our study found significant differences between social media “sharers” and social media “lurkers” — differences that could lead a company astray if it took tweets and Facebook posts as indicators of what their overall customer base is thinking.’
‘So, just humor me. Think about something you’ve been really excited to make or do.3 Maybe something you’ve been thinking about starting for weeks, months, or even years. Dance lessons? Short story? Web comic?MAME cabinet? Tree house? Doomsday laser? Excel spreadsheet?4 What stops you?’
‘There was a time that it gave me a blush of pride to be referred to as “the Spelling Sergeant” or “the Punctuation Police”. I would gleefully tear a syntactic strip out of anybody who fell victim to the perils of poor parallelism or the menace of misplaced modifiers. I railed against atrostrophes and took a red pen to signs posted in staff rooms, bulletin boards and public washrooms. I was, to put it bluntly, really, really annoying.’
and finally…a splendid read about alcohol.
‘England has a drinking problem. Since 1990, teenage alcohol consumption has doubled. Since World War II, alcohol intake for the population as a whole has doubled, with a third of that increase occurring since just 1995. The United Kingdom has very high rates of binge and heavy drinking, with the average Brit consuming the equivalent of nearly ten liters of pure ethanol per year.’