Friday Reading S09E03

Back somewhat sooner that I’d anticipated, as I thought I was going to take January off, Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Martin Belam, covering journalism, media and technology, and other interesting nerdy things. It is also available as an email newsletter. Sign up here.

Let’s have a cheery start. Emily Bell on Twitter:

“I have read so many predictions and trends about journalism in the past few weeks. The most significant trend, mostly unacknowledged, is that of politicians realizing they do not need to provide access or engagement with journalists, or even tell the truth, to be electable”

Good-oh. An unsecured database exposed thousands of British passports.

I laughed and laughed and laughed and then wept.

“A beef-only thinker is someone you cannot simply talk to. Anything that is not an expression of pure, unqualified support for whatever they are doing or saying is received as a mark of disrespect, and a provocation to conflict…Online public spaces are now being slowly taken over by beef-only thinkers, as the global culture wars evolve into a stable, endemic, background societal condition of continuous conflict. As the Great Weirding morphs into the Permaweird, the public internet is turning into the Internet of Beefs…If you participate in online public life, you cannot entirely avoid the Internet of Beefs. It is too big, too ubiquitous, and too widely distributed and connected across platforms. To continue operating in public spaces without being drawn into the conflict, you have to build an arsenal of passive-aggressive behaviors like subtweeting, ghosting, blocking, and muting — all while ignoring beef-only thinkers calling you out furiously as dishonorable and cowardly, and trying to bait you into active aggression.”

“The Internet of Beefs” – Venkatesh Rao

“Cambridge Analytica has become something of a Rorschach test among those who pay attention to digital disinformation and microtargeted propaganda. Some hail the company as a digital Svengali, harnessing the power of big data to reshape the behavior of the American electorate. Others suggest the company was peddling digital snake oil, with outlandish marketing claims that bore little resemblance to their mundane product.”

“On Digital Disinformation and Democratic Myths” – David Karpf

Explaining how the next steps of the UK-EU trade talks could unfold:

“It could either take the form of an extensive public consultation and cross-Whitehall process, or Dominic Cummings talking directly to Machiavelli’s ghost via a ouija board full of Agile Development buzz words. There are strong arguments for both approaches.”

The BBC have released some metrics and analysis of user behaviour on a couple of their recent interactives.

Tauriq Moosa says he watched fan-made film “The Witcher: First Hunt” intending to rip it to shreds and then found he preferred it to the official version: “The best distillation of ‘The Witcher’ isn’t on Netflix – if you want to see a more accurate version of Geralt of Rivia in the flesh, don’t overlook this 2016 fan film”

“Just over a week into 2020 and the nation couldn’t help but ejaculate a month’s worth of pent up prejujizz all over itself.”

“Meghan Markle and the shitted pants of white supremacy”

Matt Locke on getting your podcast format right:

“Podcasts are the polar opposite of social media. They’re about audiences choosing to spend valuable time with content they want to immerse themselves in, rather than distractedly browsing through a social stream. They’re about complex stories, compelling formats and talented people who have the potential to build loyal audiences.”

Really deep dive into this by Daniel C. Dennett:

“The first robot homicide was committed in 1981, according to my files. I have a yellowed clipping dated December 9, 1981, from the Philadelphia Inquirer — not the National Enquirer — with the headline ‘Robot killed repair­ man, Japan reports.'”

“Did HAL Commit Murder? – The HAL 9000 computer and the ethics of murder by and of machines”

Talking of robots [NO SPOILERS YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT BRENT SPINER IS IN THE CAST] I got to see the Star Trek: Picard premiere this week and it was very good and I immediately wanted to smash straight into episode two. It was lovely to see Jean-Luc Picard again.

“Experience: my brother framed me for murder”. Blimey.

There’s a new animated Pokémon mini-series set in “England” aka the Galar Region.

I’d never heard of this. Psychedelic Turkish honey.

“Forty years ago this week, my dad and grandpa went on the 1980 National Steel Strike, the first of the Thatcher era. That strike is overshadowed by what later happened to the miners, but it set the template for the decade to come.”

“Personal Story: Last of the hearts of steel” – Jude Rogers

Photos of usually ram-up London tube stations when they are completely deserted.

Nerdy list of the country’s busiest and least busy railway stations.

This artist is re-imagining album sleeves by Kate Bush, Björk and Madonna as comic book covers. I love them.

I joined this Facebook group “Terrible Art In Charity Shops” and I can 100% endorse it.

Paris Museums just released 321,178 works of art online for free – You can now download high resolution scans from Goya, Monet, Cézanne, and hundreds of others.

The John Laing Photographic Collection is also in the process of being opened up. Loads and loads of brilliant photos of people building massive stuff all over the place.

Meet the Devon woman whose knees look like EastEnders hard men Grant & Phil Mitchell – “I’m thinking about launching a YouTube channel for them, but I’m not sure about the longevity.”

Interview with my old Reckless Records chum Kirk Degiorgio about his rebooted melodic techno project As One and his new album – “Kirk Degiorgio – Cosmic communion”

I, Doris are great – “The world’s first middle-aged girl-band, sends up the spurious notion of middle aged female anonymity”

I make electronic music about the paranormal. I’m playing at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch on 30 January. It is free. Details here. I’m also doing my first home-town gig in Walthamstow for *gulp* twenty-five years, supporting Pye Corner Audio in March. Tickets here. I’ve also this very day released an EP into all good digital stores: “Three Ghost Stories”.