Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

31st March 2017

From Luciano Floridi – ‘This is what I have defined as the Fourth Revolution in our self-understanding. We are not at the centre of the Universe (Copernicus), of the biological kingdom (Charles Darwin), or of rationality (Sigmund Freud). And after Turing, we are no longer at the centre of the infosphere, the world of information processing and smart agency, either.’

@theeconomist on the inexorable rise of Amazon and how the only thing that may stop it, are the regulators. I like the prediction of Amazon becoming the global utility company for commerce, and an essential partner for many of it competitors. ‘Amazon is an extraordinary company. The former bookseller accounts for more than half of every new dollar spent online in America. It is the world’s leading provider of cloud computing. This year Amazon will probably spend twice as much on television as HBO, a cable channel.

Continuing to enjoy the content regularly shared by Brilliant Ads, via Twitter and LinkedIn. This is the latest Dettol ad, from their stream, Whose Hand Are You Holding?

Despite the fact that this research was commissioned by a newsprint organisation (Newsworks), I think it’s still worth a look. From the report – ‘Advertising aligned with news media is 85% more likely to attract new customers. Analysis of the last three years’ worth of winning entries to the IPA Effectiveness awards…found that newsbrands were a boon to advertisers’ long-term effectiveness, profit and penetration. Campaigns that use newsbrands are 43% more likely to generate “very large” market share growth, and twice as likely to deliver a reduction in price sensitivity and an increase in customer loyalty.

‘This wish to preserve life as we know it, even at the cost of dying, is profoundly human. We are encoded with the belief that death is the mother of beauty. And we are encoded, too, with the contradictory determination to remain exactly as we are, forever—or at least for just a bit longer, before we have to go. This is Silicon Valley’s ‘Quest To Live Forever.

Promoted stories placed at the bottom of some of the world’s most-respected websites are being gamed to show fake news. From @wired – We need to to talk about the internet’s fake Ad problem.

Interesting new report from the IPA, curated by @neilperkin, on the Future Of Agencies. Themes covered include – ‘customer experience,’ ‘agency as platform’, ‘the martech explosion’ and remuneration.

This is rather wonderful. A new online NASA library offers all your free space porn in one place.

‘In the famous street scene, the two are leaving the movies as she pauses over a grate to enjoy the breeze from the subway as it blows up her dress on a hot summer night. “Isn’t it delicious?” she purrs.’ From @NYT  – The Lost Footage of Marilyn Monroe

Disney just shared a new, unreleased Pixar short on YouTube called Dante’s Lunch… A Short Tail.

24th March 2017

‘It’s difficult to overstate how big a deal this is. More than 20 years after it first caught mainstream attention and began to destroy everything about how we finance culture, the digital economy is finally beginning to coalesce around a sustainable way of supporting content. It could also make for a profound shift in the way we find and support new cultural talent.’ From NYT – How the Internet is saving culture, not killing it.

Last week I visited the very lovely Austin,Texas for SxSW Interactive. Here is a summary of the main sessions I attended, published on the econsultancy blog. 

Also last week, was a very interesting Google Firestarters session, on the subject of ‘ The Future Strategist Planner’. I really liked the definition of the planning process as – Big behavioural data sets (increasingly interrogated using AI) + ‘Small Data’ (behavioural observations) + Empathy, Intuition and Imagination.

The Google-Facebook digital advertising duopoly seems like a fait accompli at this point as is the less-than-favourable revenue that publishers get from them. A number of major companies are teaming up to challenge the status quo, including Condé Nast which has joined Vox and NBCUniversal in their year-old effort, Concert ; and Fox Network Group, Turner and Viacom who have created a new consortium called OpenAP. They have a lot of money to go for – Google will account for 40.7% of U.S. digital ad revenues in 2017, and will likely seize 78% of all U.S. search ad revenues. Facebook will grow, to control 39.1% of the U.S. display market.

Tap to advance: the rise and rise of the horizontal story. ‘The shift from a vertical, scrolling mode of navigation to an increasingly horizontal, tapping/swiping mode of navigation adds a new consideration. Those of us who are text-oriented will increasingly need to think not just in terms of how we edit our words, but in how we employ ‘cuts’ between parts of our story…equally, we will need to think in episodic terms too.

I recently opted to get Estonian residency via their simple online process, along with 15,000 others. ‘E-residency is the latest and hottest Estonian e-government initiative, allowing people from all around the globe to apply for a virtual residency in Estonia. This gives them access to Estonian e-services without ever needing to visit the country.

From NYT – Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera. ‘Snapchat uncovered something deeper about the camera. Not only could we use pictures to document the world, but we could also use them to communicate. Snapchat has two defining features: pictures and ephemerality. When you talk to others on the service, you usually send them a photo, often of your face. The photo lasts for a few seconds before disappearing. Paradoxically..these features make Snapchat much more like talking than writing.

From the FT – Instagram passes the milestone of 1,000,000 advertisers. ‘The Photo app saw a fivefold increase during the past year in businesses promoting themselves. …The service had focused on making it easier for even small businesses to make creative videos, with tools such as boomerang, which creates mini-loops, and Hyperlapse, which speeds up footage. About 80 per cent of Instagram’s 600m monthly active users now choose to follow a business on the platform, and 120m have interacted with a business this month.

A good conversation might be the most efficient way to tell a story. This video piece looks at flirting, bickering, threatening and subtext-filled bantering. From Cinefix – The Top 10 picks for the best film dialogue of all time.

This is rather simply wonderful. A visualisation of inertia, using leaves and a trampoline. 

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

11th March 2016

I’m currently in the wonderful city of Austin,Texas attending SxSW Interactive. Here is a list of the ‘must-see” sessions courtesy of Texas monthly. 

The highly readable @faris on ‘The Paradox of Buying Influence’. ‘The paradox of influencer marketing is that when we attempt to buy influence, we transform it into endorsement, which everyone understands is a commercially created fiction. Celebrities in advertisements are not influential in this sense because no one thinks they actually believe what they are saying.

Airbnb is on a mission to handle all of your travel with TripsMore than a product, Trips marks the relaunch of Airbnb as a company. “We studied Amazon and how they went from books to everything,” says Chesky (the founder). “We studied Disney’s ecosystem between the theme parks and the movies. The conclusion? The more you can design this as a single system, typically, the better these things work.”

The 4th Industrial Revolution – who will win? From @nesta – ‘The idea of a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has been in play for 20 years. It usually refers to a convergence and interpenetration of digital technologies, bio, nano, info and things. It’s a catch all for many different technological trends – from prosthetic devices to the Internet of Things and new models of advanced manufacturing. On the present trajectory, the 4IR promises great benefits. But it also risks leading to a widening divide between vanguards and the rest, accelerating job destruction ahead of job creation, and introducing potentially big threats to personal privacy and cybersecurity.’

My piece this week on the Brand Learning blog – ‘The Future (and eternal truth) of Marketing : Trust’. ‘This is not one of those ‘crystal ball gazing’ kind of articles. Nor is it a compendium of mid or long term predictions. This piece is based on the universal ‘customer centric’ truth that consumers have, do, and will always ‘believe’ in brands that they feel able to rely on.’

This is Geo-Search, a technology demonstration of global scale machine learning on a new map visualisation. Or in other words, a clever way to search for similar looking places in the world.

This from quite a few years back, but the great Jeremy Bullmore is always with listening to. ‘Why a Good Insight is like a Refrigerator’.

From @warped, Google and Apple are both hyper-successful companies, but chart their patents, and they have completely different innovation signatures. ‘Apple and Google operate differently. Apple is driven largely by a centralised development structure, stemming from its fabled design studio, whereas Google has a more distributed, open-source approach to new products.’

This really helps explain something I have been struggling with – A visual introduction to machine learning. 

One of the finest ‘car crash’ videos one is likely to see, as an expert’s kids disrupt his TV Interview.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

2rd March 2017

Great piece on the importance of ‘maintenance’ vs ‘innovation’ in society. ‘Capitalism excels at innovation but is failing at maintenance, and for the most lives it is maintenance that matters. Entire societies have come to talk about innovation as if it were an inherently desirable value, like love, fraternity, courage, beauty, dignity, or responsibility. Innovation-speak worships at the altar of change, but it rarely asks who benefits, to what end? A focus on maintenance provides opportunities to ask questions about what we really want out of technologies. What do we really care about?

The UK’s long awaited Digital Strategy launched on the 1st March and will include a review on artificial intelligence. ‘It is claimed, based on figures from Accenture, that AI could add £654 billion to the UK’s economy by 2035. While research from the think tank Reform has suggested 250,000 public sector administration jobs could be replaced by chat bots, artificial intelligence, and automation by 2030.

This is one of those ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ ideas. Blinkist is an app that hosts 1,800+ best-selling nonfiction books, transformed into powerful shorts you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes

@davetrott on the topical tale of Dick and Mac McDonald, and Ray Kroc (recently brought to life by Michael Keaton in The Founder). ‘Ray Kroc is famous as the man who founded McDonald’s. In fact, he didn’t. What he did was spot a great idea and franchise it. It was the brothers, Dick and Mac McDonald, who invented the original concept.They were the real creative thinkers.They knew that real creativity isn’t adding more stuff, real creativity is taking stuff away. Their stroke of genius was in spotting that 87% of their income came from just three items – hamburgers, fries, drinks. If they concentrated on just those three things, they could make them faster and better than anyone else. So they dropped everything else off the menu.’ “As David Ogilvy said: “Strategy is sacrifice.”

Having linked to OpenStrategy’s best articles from 2015, here is a a compendium of their best strategy reads, shared over the past 12 months. Includes, in my view, one of the best articles from last year – ‘The world beyond storytelling’ by Marin Weigel. Definitely work a look. 

Which stories go viral? Apparently, those that tickle just the right spots of our brains.’The researchers noted a pattern: activity suggesting self and social interest weren’t enough to explain virality—the brain also had to involve its valuation system. An increase in activity in the self and social-interest regions was linked to activity in valuation processing. And high valuation activity was key to sharing’.

Not a happy story, but totemic of what threats can lie ahead as the Internet of Things, becomes more pervasive. A company that sells “smart” teddy bears leaked 800,000 user account credentials—and then hackers locked it and held it for ransom.

A murder case tests Alexa’s devotion to your privacy. ‘Arkansas police recently demanded that Amazon turn over information collected from a murder suspect’s Echo. Amazon’s lawyers contend that the First Amendment’s free speech protection applies to information gathered and sent by the device.

Cartographer Gerardus Mercator always got a bit of bad press for his (in)famous ‘projection‘; which stretched the top and bottom of a map when transferred from globe to a flat surface. Here he is again, on even more dodgy footing, as his 16th-century attempt at mapping the Arctic includes such guesses as a giant whirlpool and polar pygmies.

Perhaps the most brutal and honest obituary ever written? ‘With Leslie’s passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend.‘ 

And finally (HT to @itsjimmyb) 19 of the most brilliantly awful, punning business names in Britain.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

25th February 2017

Ten Breakthrough Technologies for 2017, courtesy of @MIT. The selection includes – ‘Paying With Your Face’, ‘Reversing Paralysis’ and ‘the 360 Degree Selfie.’

Interesting and perhaps surprising news. The IAB and YouGov believe the proportion of British adults who use the internet and are currently using ad-blocking software has stalled – staying at 22% for the past year.

From HBR, ‘Branding in the Age of Social Media’. This is a lengthy piece, but chock full of great observations and interesting terminology. We are offered, ‘Amplified Substructures’, ‘Turbocharged Artworlds’ and ‘Competing for Crowdcultures’. From the summary of the piece – ‘These…brands broke through in social media because they used cultural branding—a strategy that works differently from the conventional branded-content model. Each engaged a cultural discourse….in social media – a crowdculture – which espoused a distinctive ideology. Each acted as a proselytiser, promoting this ideology to a mass audience.’

The Innovation Station (tis.tv) is making a decent fist of being the hub for innovation videos on the web. Take look here.

Totally agree with this perspective on creativity from @wasbuxton ,which blows the concept of the ‘light-bulb’ ideation moment, out of the water. ‘My belief is…that the bulk of innovation behind the latest “wow” moment (multi-touch on the iPhone, for example) is low-amplitude and takes place over a long period – well before the “new” idea has become generally known, much less reached the tipping point. It is what I call The Long Nose of Innovation.’

Some great stuff here, From Open Strategy, The 54 most clicked articles from the first year of their newsletter.

Spotify’s latest campaign has fun with users’

ridiculous playlist names. How about – ‘I don’t know how to make a playlist’, is a playlist someone made, somehow. Click on the ads to see some more, entertaining examples.

So, I am always telling my kids to spend less time on computer games and do something ‘worthwhile’; after all it’s not like they can earn any money doing this later in life. Well, according to @wired you will be able to . ‘People with elite backgrounds are hoovering up an increasing share of new income and wealth. Automation is obviating more and more jobs. In the years to come, we’ll need new forms of employment. Let’s crystal-ball this: Will there be a new way for the working class of the future to earn a paycheck? Sure, playing video games.

Genius. The more you donate to this nonprofit to help sick children, the more colourful its ad gets.

From @Sun.These companies offer unlimited holidays…and they are hiring.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

18th Feb 2017

I attended The Story conference at Conway Hall yesterday – always one of the most enlightening and inspiring events of the year. Highlights included a talk from journalist David Conn concerning his work on Hillsborough; writer Lara Pawson reading from her latest book; and the author and teacher Kate Clanchy on inspiring a love of poetry in children. Two speakers presented short videos that are really worth a watch. In 160 Characters Victoria Mapplebeck finds an old Nokia phone in a drawer. Re-charging it, reveals texts telling the ‘sweet-bitter’ story of a relationship, from 10 years ago. Swipe Slow, is a BBC short by Inua Ellams and featuring Harley Sylvester (from Rizzle Kicks), that has a refreshing take on love in the age of Tinder.

…and while we are talking about Tinder, here are the most desirable job titles in online dating. Number one for women is ‘Physical Therapist’ and for men it is ‘Pilot’.

A battle for the future of the web is taking place. Should the www be locked down with digital rights management (DRM)? ‘The stakes could not be higher… on the one hand, Hollywood is terrified of online piracy, and studios insist that video streaming providers like Netflix use DRM to stop users from pirating movies. On the other hand, a long list of security experts argue that DRM breaks the Web’s open architecture, and damages browser security, with cascading negative effects across the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg waded into the debate on globalisation with a verbose missive (5,800 words) on Thursday. He expressed alarm that what was once considered normal — seeking global connection — was now seen by people and governments around the world, as something undesirable.One may not always agree with Facebook’s direction or like the power it wields; but on this Zuck is definitely on the right side of the argument.

An interesting perspective on the relationship between rudeness and truth – are we living in an age of rudeness? From @NYT – ‘The truth often appears in the guise of a threat to the social code. It has this in common with rudeness. When people tell the truth, they can experience a feeling of release from pretence that is perhaps similar to the release of rudeness. It might follow that people can mistake truth for rudeness, and rudeness for truth. It may only be by examining the aftermath of each that it becomes possible to prove which was which.’

In a period of growing social media influence (and influencers), the business divorce between Disney and PewDiePie is a salutary tale. From Digiday – the inherent difficulties in policing You Tube.

From How We Get To Next. ‘For Muslims currently living in the U.S., the idea of undertaking a pilgrimage to Mecca has become a freshly perilous one. They could well be forbidden from reentering Trump’s newly fortified America. It’s possible that’s not the only hindrance, though. Some might be unable to embark on a pilgrimage because they lack the physical capability to climb a mountain, the financial capacity to travel, or simply the time to spare.’ This is how technology is democratising pilgrimage.

The ’23’ Enigma. From The Guardian – ‘In Tangier in 1960, the beat writer William S. Burroughs met a sea captain called Captain Clark, who boasted to him that he had never had an accident in 23 years; later that day Clark’s boat sank, killing him and everyone on board. Burroughs was reflecting on this, that same evening, when he heard a radio report about a plane crash in Florida: the pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23. From then on Burroughs began noting down incidences of the number 23, and wrote a short story, 23 Skidoo.’

John Franklin was one of many European explorers who tried and failed to find a path from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic. Very few returned home from that voyage, whose potential rewards were huge — a vessel traveling from Hamburg to Shanghai through the Northwest Passage would cut 2,300 miles off its journey, compared to traveling via the Suez Canal, and approximately 5,200 miles if it were to sail through the Panama Canal. These days this journey poses less of a problem, as this gif depicting the decline of Arctic sea ice, clearly shows.

The bizarre, high flying world of dronevertising.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

Friday 10th February ’17

I guess, not a huge surprise. Content is quite often not ‘King’. From @marketingweek – ‘60% of content created by brands is just clutter.’ According to the source study by @havas, ‘meaningful brands’ are the exception. These brands outperform the stock market by 206%, see a 48% increase in share of wallet and 137% greater returns on KPIs. The study defines ‘meaningful brands’ as those that have an impact on consumers’ personal, collective and functional benefits.

On the face of it, Elon Musk’s plan to colonise Mars seems exciting and inspiring.  This interesting piece from Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel takes an alternative view – ‘Musk’s plan to colonise Mars is a sign of an older and recurring social problem. What happens when the rich and powerful isolate themselves from everyday concerns? Musk wants to innovate and leave Earth, rather than to take care of it, or fix it, and stay.

Things go full circle. In the mid-’90s, the internet was synonymous with chatrooms. Now teenagers are flocking to an app that feels a lot like AOL Instant Messenger — only this time with video. Here is a brand guide to Houseparty, the teen app du jour.

Like to know who is lying on Twitter? By scanning 66 million tweets linked to nearly 1,400 real-world events, researchers have built a language model that identifies words and phrases that lead to strong or weak perceived levels of credibility on Twitter. What to watch out for? ‘Tweets with booster words, such as ‘undeniable’ and positive emotion terms, such as ‘eager’ and ‘terrific,’ were viewed as highly credible, (whilst) words indicating positive sentiment but mocking the impracticality of the event, such as ‘ha,’ ‘grins’ or ‘joking,’ were seen as less credible. So were hedge words – including ‘certain level’ and ‘suspects’.

Wonderful. Airbnb wants to house 100,000 displaced people in 5 years. 

Suggestions from Richard Huntingdon of Saatchi and Saatchi, on what Planners should be doing in 2017. These include -‘telling the robots who’s boss’ and ‘getting out of the echo chamber’. He says – ‘If the two most effective campaigns of 2016, for Leave and Donald Trump, dispensed with facts, truth, logic and reason, we must rapidly figure out what this means for effective brand communications’.

In the 80s, some of music’s biggest stars – from Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash, David Bowie to Tom Waits – found themselves in deep creative ruts. How did they get back on track? The solution was a combination of  – finding patient and enthusiastic new collaborators, exploring new influences and working methods, cutting existing ties and (even for these legends) persuading themselves that greatness was still within their reach. 

Another potential application for VR. Surgeons and their patients are finding that virtual reality can relieve the pain and stress of operations – and it’s safer and cheaper than sedatives. Could Virtual Reality be virtually painless?

Wonderful. Looks like there really is an app for everything. Scientists from @MIT have created a gadget that is worn like a wristwatch and uses artificial intelligence to assess a conversation’s tone. ‘It can differentiate between happy, sad and neutral, but some versions could also tell whether your delivery is boring or awkward’.

Always good to catch-up on the commercials aired in the Super Bowl. Entertainment Tonight  ranks 16 adverts and proclaims the top 3 as 1) Audi, #Drive Progress 2) Buick,starring Cam Newton and Amanda Kerr and 3) T-Mobile, featuring Justin Bieber and Terrell Owens.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

4th February 2017

Moving from Globalisation towards Multipolarity.’ The Credit Suisse Research Institute examines the end of globalisation as we know it and the passage from globalisation to multipolarity – as regions become more distinct in terms of their economies, laws, cultures and security networks.  This chimes strongly with this excellent slide-share on the rising importance of Nationalism amongst Millennials.

Yes, ideas are becoming harder to find. According to this analysis, US T.F.P. (Total Factor Productivity) growth is lower than it was in 1930, despite the fact that we now have 25 times more researchers. 

Excellent, happy this has been cleared up now. The ever insightful @neilperkin on the difference between Multi-Channel and Omnichannel.

@adcontrarian on the recent speech by Marc Pritchard of P&G, calling out abuses in the online advertising ecosystem; specifically around viability, fraud and verification.  ‘Are they really going to require Facebook and Google to open the kimono and let us see what’s going on through 3rd party verification? That would be big’.

From @wired. ‘Indiana Jones meets Google Earth, as GlobalXplorer lets you hunt for hidden heritage sites’.

‘Imagine if next time you saw a plan for an oversized monster tower block proposed for your street, you could get out your smartphone and swipe left to oppose it? Or see a carefully designed scheme for a new neighbourhood library and swipe right to support it?’ How tech is making urban planning more inclusive.’ Welcome to Tinder for Cities.

From the always interesting @challengerproject : 20 Challengers to watch in 2017. Covering categories as diverse as fitness, finance and football, and from new start-ups catching the attention to $16bn mega challengers.

Is this (really?) the first evidence that our Universe is a hologram?  A team of theoretical physicists at the University of Southampton believes it has found signs our Universe is an illusion, by studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – radiation left over from the Big Bang.

From @wired, the world’s most toxic countries, laid bare on this alarming map. 

And to finish, here are some sports stories on the weekend of the Super Bowl. Rather amusing piece on why the New England Patriots are even sneakier than you think. Could this be the most obvious and embarrassing basketball ‘flop’ ever recorded?. And love this video of a football game where players deliberately missed penalties, following some ‘absurd’ referring decisions.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

28th January 2017

Seven take-aways from the World Economic Forum 2017. It isn’t easy summarising an event over four days, 400 sessions, a multitude of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and countless conversations between 3000 delegates. But @rishad has given it a fairly decent shot. If there is one theme to come out of Davos this year, it is : Trust  – how to get it and how to keep it.

Very interesting new book from cultural theorist Yves Citton – ‘The Ecology of Attention.’ ‘We are constantly drawn towards attempts to quantify and commodify attention, even down to counting the number of ‘likes’ a picture receives on Facebook or a video on YouTube. By contrast, Citton argues that we should conceptualise attention as a kind of ecology and examine how the many different environments to which we are exposed from advertising to literature, search engines to performance art, condition our attention in different ways.’

Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, provides mixed messages on ad-blocking. Three quarters of UK marketers say ad-blocking will be good for the industry, but 38% say they are likely to give up online altogether.

From WARC’s Toolkit 2017 – ‘Effectiveness in The Digital Age.’ (‘An) issue is the right balance of short-term and long-term strategies. Fresh research this year has suggested that brands are over-investing in short-term ‘activation’ media, undermining the impact of creativity and harming long-term effectiveness.’

The anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo has hit 10 billion searches. ‘The privacy-focussed search engine, which doesn’t track user data, recorded a 600 per cent rise in traffic following Edward Snowden’s revelations about state surveillance three years ago.’

From @longshortmag, ‘(Don’t laugh) How Industrial Strategy Can Make The Spirit Soar’. ‘If early imperial Rome can be said to have had an industrial strategy, public buildings were a central part of it. And they have inspired generations of inhabitants and visitors ever since.’

Interesting and interactive, this is ‘Ekman’s Atlas of Emotions’ – an interactive tool designed to build emotional awareness. ‘The site invites you to visualise, identify and explore five primary emotions (and their related feeling states, actions, triggers and moods) in order to gain a better understanding of how they influence our lives.

Can selfies really represent an art from? London’s Saatchi gallery, certainly thinks so. 

As the Oscar nominations are announced, here is a great infographic from @informationisbeautiful comparing past films, in terms of total budget, critical reviews and % budget recovered. And do you happen to know where the name ‘Oscar’ comes from? 

Finally a couple of short videos, for the weekend. What if there was no ‘War’ in Star Wars? What if the disagreement between the Empire and Rebel Alliance could be settled amicably? Here is an alternative world view from Juhász Márk. I am particularly fond of the inflatable Death Star.

Got to love John Malkovich’s irritation that ‘his’ url has already been taken .

Enjoy La La Land? Did a few bits seem familiar? Then you’ll enjoy this tour of the many musicals that the film referenced.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

20th Jan 2017

Malcolm Gladwell on ‘Writing The New America’. ‘The last experience with a true American bully – somebody who was this crass and vulgar – was Joe McCarthy. What happens is that for a number of years everyone goes along with it, and by being so coarse and vulgar and by being willing to go places that no one else will go, he has enormous political success in the short-run. And then what happens? People finally get sick of him.

Building a search engine for the parts that Google doesn’t reach. ‘The vast majority of online content isn’t available in a form that’s easily indexed by electronic archiving systems like Google’s. Rather, it requires a user to log in, or it is provided dynamically by a program running when a user visits the page.

@theeconomist adds to a very popular and worthwhile topic doing the rounds at the moment  – ‘Lifelong Learning’ – ‘Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment,

@newscientist has an interesting piece on a possible cause of ageing – ‘old blood may have a powerful effect, damaging organs and contributing to ageing. Now a compound has been developed that seems to protect against this, preventing mice’s brains from ageing…(and) while young blood can be restorative, there is something in old blood that is actively harmful.

Drones delivering packages in cities won’t take off here’s why. ‘There are already too many potential problems to let drones fly with sufficiently loose restrictions in cities to make a delivery business viable. One major issue is drones interfering with aircraft, thanks to surging numbers of near misses. Drones are also increasingly being used to fly drugs and other contraband into prisons.’

From @guardian. ‘As statistics lose their power we should fear what comes next. The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril’.

FiveThirtyEight’s best and weirdest charts of 2016. Some interesting stuff here, including – ‘what would the US election have looked like if only women had voted?’, ‘on-duty police officer deaths in the US by cause, since 1791’ (notice the spike in the Prohibition years) and ‘the average length of American football field goal attempts, since 2000.’ (clue – they are getting longer).

This video shows how all Pixar films are connected. It all starts with Easter Eggs.

If you are not already familiar with the highly engaging work of Nerdwriter on YouTube and you are a fan of Sherlock, this is most definitely worth a look – Sherlock : How to film thought.

Young Thug didn’t show up for his music video shoot. They shot it anyway (for $100,000) and the result is a beautiful and highly entertaining disaster (content warning –  this is a rap video, so I’m sure you’ll know what to expect…).