Friday Reading #28

The hot weather in the UK has been a delight, the rare feel of warmth is showing off our best and least pasty side…although there are a few lobsters about (there is even mention of lobsters in one of the articles posted below).  As well as being joyous weather wise, this week has also been good for interesting things I have read on the Internet. Topics covered this week are a real mixed bunch, Do things that don’t scale, design fiction pedagogy, unhappiness is good, and so is shyness, why we should all have something to hide, interviews with Vint Cerf and Marshall McLuhan, Cricket technology and the theory that all the Pixar films take place in the same universe. Get yourself an ice lolly and enjoy.


Do things that don’t scale

Startups building things for other startups have a big pool of potential users in the other companies we’ve funded, and none took better advantage of it than Stripe. At YC we use the term “Collison installation” for the technique they invented. More diffident founders ask “Will you try our beta?” and if the answer is yes, they say “Great, we’ll send you a link.” But the Collison brothers weren’t going to wait. When anyone agreed to try Stripe they’d say “Right then, give me your laptop” and set them up on the spot.


Design Fiction as Pedagogic Practice

What first seems like a good idea, can have unexpected, unintended and undesirable consequences. Use fiction as a way to think through a full range of possible consequences. The interesting (and often dangerous) impacts of objects happen on the outskirts of intention, like a ripple effect on reality. Pretend before you mess the world up.


A Case for the Pursuit of Unhappiness

Forgas’ idea is that a happy mood inclines you to feel that the world accords with your beliefs and emotions. Conversely, he argues, unhappiness inclines you to think that the world doesn’t match your inner state—so you’d better adjust. Accordingly, a happy mood inclines people to pay less attention to detail, rely more on stereotypes, give credence to what they’re told and even to argue less effectively.


The crystalline wall

Shyness is something different: a longing for connection with other people which is foiled by fear and awkwardness. The danger in simply accepting it, as Cain urges us to do with introversion, is that shyness can easily turn into a self-fulfilling persona — the pose becomes part of you, like a mask that melds with your face.


We Should All Have Something To Hide

Over the past year, there have been a number of headline-grabbing legal changes in the US, such as the legalization of marijuana in CO and WA, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in a growing number of US states. […] What’s often overlooked, however, is that these legal victories would probably not have been possible without the ability to break the law.


Internet pioneer Vint Cerf talks online privacy, Google Glass and the future of libraries

“I just moved to London and I’ve already been accepted by Barclaycard. And you know that reader they send you (a personal device required to log into your Internet banking account), I was thinking ‘what’s that?’. Now I understand that this is two-factor authentication right there, and I’m damned impressed. And I’m also impressed that people are actually using it, because it’s slightly annoying having to carry one around with you.”


The lost Marshall McLuhan tapes

Newman: What’s ahead? What is the most surprising trend we can expect?

McLuhan: The biggest job in the world will be espionage. Around the world, people are spending more and more of their time watching the other guy. Espionage at the speed of light will become the biggest business in the world. But the CIA and the FBI are really old hat using old hardware by comparison to what’s coming, in which everybody earns pocket money by watching his own mom and dad or his brothers and sisters.


Test Match Special and Technological Agency

A number of different approaches, one based on Hawk-Eye, another using chips implanted in footballs, are currently under trial. However, Blatter has long opposed these, based partly on their accuracy, but also going on the record to say that “Other sports regularly change the laws of the game to react to the new technology. … We don’t do it and this makes the fascination and the popularity of football”. What underlies this statement is a fundamental belief that sport is a human undertaking, with all the confusion, fallibility and debate that that involves.


The Pixar Theory

Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why. Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call “The Pixar Theory,” a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme. This theory covers every Pixar production since Toy Story. 


Another week done, enjoy the sun, fingers crossed for England to win the second test and tell your email obsessed friends to subscribe and your cooler RSS using friends to add this feed. Bye.


Rossington Stanley says:

Kudos on the hover text

Aden Davies says:

How nice for someone to notice. Thank you.

Robin Dhara says:

What a cool collection of thoughts here. thanks Aden

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