Friday Reading S02E15

It’s Friday and so as usual I have rounded up some articles I read (or re-read) on the internet this week, and I present them to you in a list so that you too may partake of their goodness if you so wish…

In the light of recent events in the US, this looks like very strong work from Patrick Smith and Chris Stokel-Walker: “How A Teenager Came Within Hours Of Carrying Out A College Massacre in the UK

Media #Content

The publishing industry is in a tizzy because of ad/content blockers rising in popularity and more specifically getting a lot of exposure on the new iOS version. As my friend Matt observed: “Oh look, another example of the news industry waking up to an obvious problem only when it’s far too late”

Editorial teams want more features and to cram more stuff in. Commercial teams want higher yield which often means more advertising, not cleverer advertising. It is performance and user experience that suffers, as this chart on the data footprint of ads on mobile shows. News sites are literally costing their users time and money with this guff.

How ad-blocking software could revolutionise disabled people’s lives” – Anna Bawden, Guardian.

It’s shameful that a platform that has no reason not to be totally accessible often isn’t. And I’m as guilty of that as anyone.

Techdirt have given readers a button to switch the ads off.

“This isn’t one of those ‘pay us to remove ads’ deals. It’s up to you. That said, obviously if you disable ads we’re likely to make less money. So if you choose to do that, we’d appreciate it if you supported us in other ways”

“Venture capitalists may be excited about a social network that makes everyone an influencer, but that’s certainly where they’re not going to get their money returned.”

A piece bemoaning that things a news outlet might refer to as “sponsored content” go unlabelled on Medium.


Sam Biddle of Gawker throwing shade at Buzzfeed – “A Pope Fangirl Shouldn’t Report on the Pope” – and defending reporters piling on to witnesses of a mass shooting “Reporters Are Rude During Tragedies Because They’re Reporting

I’m 100% in agreement with him about the latter.

I’m less convinced about the former – I’d rather it be obvious someone was a fangirl, than watch something the “impartial” coverage of the British Royal family from “correspondents” who pretend they are delivering news rather than a constant stream of “THIS IS GREAT!”

Shut up and eat yer Corn Flakes mate

Earlier in the week it was in the news for getting attacked by anti-gentrification protesters, which reminded me of one of the best things UsVsTh3m published–the time that Rob Manuel visited the Cereal Killer Cafe and what happened next surprised… HIM!

Doctor Who and all that space-jazz

There’s a new Doctor Who spin-off coming. WOOT! WOOT!

Loads of fanboys and fangirls were underwhelmed. SAME OLD SAME OLD.

But here’s a glimpse of what we might be getting.

Patrick Ness is writing “Class” for BBC Three, and he previously wrote a Doctor Who story featuring the fifth Doctor for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the show. “Tip of the tongue” features kids playing with a wonderful alien technology concept that makes them speak the truth, and you can read an extract online on the Guardian Childrens’ Books site.

Talking of the disappointed fanboys and girls, this is lovely on enjoying Doctor Who:

“In our bid to poke at, critique, bash, highlight ‘problems’, and declare it imperfect, many of us forget to simply revel in the sheer joy of this daft, scary, goofy, bold, unique show. We think it’s more important to scold its imperfections, or decry it for failing to squeeze into the tiny mould we decide it best fits in. In our rush towards the disdain, we give short shrift to the praise. Too much ‘I want it to do this and it won’t’, and not enough taking the show as presented. No, jerk, I’m not saying we should not critique the show. Just realise that Who not being exactly like you want it to be does not automatically mean it is terrible.”

Enjoying Doctor Who” – Matthew Stott

Meanwhile, it must be said, the joy of being able to play a PlayStation game featuring my favourite thing Doctor Who and my daughter’s favourite thing Scooby Doo sounded amazing until I saw the jaw-dropping price of it all. I think it will be at least £120 to cobble that experience together. “Kids’ Games Are Getting Ridiculously Expensive



How to defend the arts using liberal values” – Nick Cohen, The Spectator

“Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect Jeremy Corbyn to disavow the nirvana fallacy; after all, he owes his current position to it. Many of those who voted for him find it almost impossible to grasp that the choice is not between an imperfect Labour government, and an ideal one, but between an imperfect Labour government, and a Tory one. They revile the Blair government, but don’t stop to think what the country would be like today if the Tories had won in 1997, and kept winning.”

Jeremy Corbyn and the nirvana fallacy” – Ian Leslie

“As Evan Osnos recently detailed in the New Yorker, Trump’s campaign is—wittingly or not—a conduit for white nationalist politics to enter the cultural mainstream, and openly NRx-affiliated authors have begun appearing in grassroots-right media outlets like the Daily Caller. Moreover, while the establishment right has mostly accepted culture war defeats with grace, anger at this surrender is obviously bubbling beneath the surface. In a perhaps less threatening, but related phenomenon, Gamergate and the recent Hugo Awards drama—as well as the assorted PUA/red-pill subcultures —all point to an increasingly vocal contingent of mostly white, mostly educated, mostly men with illiberal sympathies of their own.”

The Darkness Before the Right – A right-wing politics for the coming century is taking shape. And it’s not slowing down” – Park MacDougald

Is football over in the North of England?

Loathed him when he played for Manchester United, of course, but he’s been a revelation as a pundit. And this is a thoughtful essay from Gary Neville asking if football in the north of England is dying.

“When was the last time a really top player played at Newcastle, or Sunderland, or signed for one of those clubs? Does any top player now want to go and live in Newcastle or Sunderland or Middlesbrough? That’s not being disrespectful. My opinion of them is as great football cities, with fantastic people, who are having the life sucked out of them. What’s becoming most important to today’s player is not the culture or history of a club but the location, for the family, and the distance back to where they want to live. On a macro level the world’s top four or five players prefer to be in Spain.”

Top Gear

“A future without human drivers is a long, long way off. But we’ll get there. No matter what you think. No matter what you hope. No matter how you feel about it. Because the efficient, unemotional, necessary logic of cars that operate without human error and instability is unquestionable.”

Google’s Cute Cars And The Ugly End Of Driving” – Mat Honan, Buzzfeed

Wired for sound

Unless you’ve got the same 70s/80s pop heritage I have, you probably can’t name Alan Tarney, but for sure you have heard the songs he worked on: “Cult heroes: Alan Tarney, the greatest British pop producer you’ve never heard of” – Bob Stanley

Also this new Daughter track is ace.

From the whiny man-baby files

Headline of the week: Lucky non-virgin gals spared marrying whiny man-children after MRA launches #NoHymenNoDiamond drive

“For the extremely religious, being MGTOW causes a little bit of a conundrum. You can’t have sex out of marriage, but you have also vowed not to get married, so you’re essentially up virgin’s creek without a paddle. Going monk isn’t just for the religious—some men have also talked themselves into celibacy because they can’t have sex without love but can never love a woman.”

This Group of Straight Men Is Swearing Off Women” – Mack Lamoureux, Vice


A sentence I never, ever, ever thought I’d type

Nando’s in Walthamstow is up for a design award.

Having children is so much this…

The eight steps of a faultless bedtime routine