Friday Reading S10E08

It’s back. My weekly newsletter of … things what I reckon you’ll like. Subscribe to it here.

From the media ethics department, I found this very interesting:

It also affects how our legal system tackles law-breakers on the roads. Those working in the criminal justice system, from police, magistrates and jurors to coroners and judges, all read the news. When they read pieces that exaggerate the dangers presented by cyclists or pedestrians, it may affect their decision-making. Conversely, when they read that “a car”, rather than “a driver”, has caused injury or damage, it trivialises the dangers imposed on the most vulnerable road users by bad drivers.

“Why we need media reporting guidelines for road safety” – Laura Laker and Martin Porter QC

I made more than several faces at key points while reading this. ESPECIALLY WHEN I GOT TO THE CORRECTION AT THE END.

“The Advisor and the Slack Channel That (Sort Of) Singlehandedly Destroyed an NYU Newsroom” – Shannon Melero, Jezebel

In May, at PMQs, Boris Johnson promised that the UK would have have ‘world-beating’ system to trace 10,000 coronavirus cases per day ready by 1 June. In October: How Excel may have caused loss of 16,000 Covid tests in England


Storythings are looking for an editor to work with them on a new quarterly project for a client working in finance/business. They really encourage submissions from under-represented groups in that sector. Details here. I’ve worked with Storythings on several projects and can 100% endorse and recommend them.


Flash games were the gateway for many developers in the games industry, and served as an experimental playground for distilling games down to their most pure and engaging elements. The end-of-life of Flash in December 2020 marks the end of one of the most creative periods in the history of gaming.

It’s one of those weird NYT Snowfall/UsVsTh3m Icefail presentations but a really interesting look at the influence of the Flash games generation.

“How Flash games shaped the video game industry” – Jonas Richner

Created on a lark in 2000, HOTorNOT became what we’d now call an overnight viral hit by letting people upload pictures of themselves to the internet so total strangers could rate their attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. Twenty years later, it’s a conceit that smacks of the juvenile “edginess” of the early web. It’s now seen at best as superficial and crass, at worst as problematic and potentially offensive. However, the deeper you dive into HOTorNOT’s history, the more surprised you’ll be by the thoughtfulness bubbling below its shallow surface — and its fundamental impact on internet history.

“HOTorNOT shaped the social web as we know it – The forgotten joke website influenced YouTube, Twitter, Tinder, and so much more” – Jess Joho, Mashable

“Even as a photo historian, I look at them and think, oh, wow, that’s quite an arresting image,” she says. “But always then my next impulse is to say, ‘Well, why am I having that response? And what is the person who’s made this intervention on the restoration actually doing? What information has this person added? What have they taken away?”

I have STRONG opinions about this. The footage looks amazing … and yet … is it not just the equivalent of when there was a fad in the 1970s and 1980s to take old mono records from the 50s and 60s and “fake” them into stereo mixes?

Plus, whatever technique is being used now, will clearly be rubbish compared to what the technology is like in five, ten, twenty years.

And yet, you begin to see how you might end up being able to watch Patrick Troughton adventures upscaled to colour HD, with the existing colour still images of the sets and costumes being used as the training material for the AI, and hoo boy…

“YouTubers are upscaling the past to 4K. Historians want them to stop” – Thomas Nicholson, Wired

If you owned a computer in the 1990s, the chances are that somewhere in your attic there’s a dusty box of floppy disks that you haven’t touched for years. But contained on the disks are files and documents that you might want to keep safe – maybe some early digital photos, or that novel you started working on about the Millennium bug.

James O’Malley talks to John Sheridan, digital director at The National Archives: “The future of our digital past: how do we stop our precious files from being lost forever?”

PLEASE NOTE: My data preservation is so good that this has reminded me that I blogged about seeing John Sheridan talk about turning UK law into linked data as long ago as 2010 and it is still online and at a persistent URL because that is how the intertubes was meant to work.

The City of Amsterdam has launched an Algorithm Register:

“The Algorithm Register is an overview of the artificial intelligence systems and algorithms used by the City of Amsterdam. Through the register, you can get acquainted with the quick overviews of the city’s algorithmic systems or examine their more detailed information based on your own interests. You can also give feedback and thus participate in building human-centered algorithms in Amsterdam.”

“In League Two a lot of players live month to month. When you’re in a dressing room and you see important players breaking down in tears two days before a game, it’s hard. The longer it went on, it was starting to affect people at home and if things aren’t going right at home, how the hell are you supposed to play football on a Saturday?”

‘Players were in tears’: what it was really like as Macclesfield collapsed – Club’s former full-back and PFA delegate James Pearson on training, money and mental health issues amid the crisis.

Call me old-fashioned but I think the fact that Manchester City currently have around at least 70 players on their books for the first team and dev squad may be a reason its hard for them all to get game-time?

Covid crisis may lead to Premier League B teams in EFL, says Manchester City’s Soriano

While the Premier League’s stadia sit empty, its matches played for cameras behind closed doors, the tiny London clubs at the other end of the football league are having a moment — and football-starved fans are flocking to their grounds in droves. James McMahon investigates a rare heartwarming tale in 2020: Why non-league football is thriving over lockdown

Sorry, huge amounts of archive web and football energy in the newsletter this week. I’ll write more about Doctor Who and Sparks next week, I promise.

Someone has written out literally everything the characters shout out in Crash Team Racing and I’m kind of here for that. Although not here for paying £59.99 for a new Crash Bandicoot game in the year of our Lord 2020.

Archaeologists in Turkey Uncover 2,400-year-old Dionysus Mask – it looks amazing, but on the other hand, in the middle of a cursed year, maybe stop digging weird old shit up?

Talking of cursed weird shit, this Halloween there’s a free live stream of electronic music called V-EM 5.0 from 9pm until late. No artists have been announced yet, but I wonder if we know anybody who does anything that might suit that sort of thing…🤔