Welcome to issue #228 of meshedsociety weekly.
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Here are this week's recommended reads!
Note: Some of the publications may use “soft” paywalls. If you are denied access, open the URL in your browser’s incognito/private mode (or subscribe if you find yourself reading a lot of the content on a specific site and want to support it).
Last issue's top 3 most clicked articles:
- Data isn’t the new oil, it’s the new CO2
(luminategroup.com, 3 minutes)
A smart and thought-provoking argumentation: “We are more impacted by other people’s data (with whom we are grouped) than we are by data about us”, writes . And: “We are bound by other people’s consent. Our own consent (or lack thereof) is becoming increasingly irrelevant” (thanks Viktor for pointing me to it).
- Chasing the Pink
(logicmag.io, 16 minutes)
An insightful feature by Sarah Mason on how gamification is changing work (using the example of on-demand driving).
- Study finds workers would rather be replaced by a robot than another person
(techxplore.com, 2 minutes)
Fascinating. The researchers suggest based on the results that people do not feel the need to compete with a robot the way they would with another person.
- VW exec says ‘tipping point is near’ for electric vehicles
(europe.autonews.com, 2 minutes)
Good news. The tipping point will be price equity, and that’s near, says a VW top manager. Another interesting point: Focus groups have revealed that there is fear about driving electric cars through water. “For 50 years, we’ve educated people that electricity and water don’t mix”.
- Python is eating the world
(techrepublic.com, 15 minutes)
An accessible long read detailing “how one developer’s side project became the hottest programming language on the planet”. This seems to be a good moment to point to my own experience report on how I taught myself Python (which I believe anyone can do if they are willing and able to prioritize some time for it).
- Contrary to Musk’s claim, Lidar has some advantages in Self Driving technology
(arstechnica.com, 11 minutes)
Cars can “see” the world around them either through Lidar, a type of sensor that uses lasers to build a three-dimensional map of the world around the car, or cameras. Or both. But top-of-the-line lidar sensors currently cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- Smartphone Sales Are in Freefall, and That’s Okay
(ifixt.com, 4 minutes)
It is. Some paradigms are clearly moving right now, and that’s kind of exciting.
- Apple Deserves More Credit for Wearables
(aboveavalon.com, 4 minutes)
While many observers are focusing on Apple’s staling iPhone business and the rise of the services unit, another success story is the growth of the wearable segment, namely AirPods and Apple Watch.
(seths.blog, 1 minute)
Seth Godin on the power of streaks. I love streaks as well. They don’t seem to work for everyone’s mental structure, but they do for me. I currently “operate” two streaks: Writing a daily journal entry in Spanish since January (to practice the language), and a weekly “soft” streak where I try to not eat meat for 5 days in a row (usually Monday to Friday), or longer. This latter streak is actually getting easier all the time.
- Predictably Successful Ideas
(benjaminreinhardt.com, 1 minutes)
A framework that can be applied not only to startups. What are the things that predictably can work out, if just some controllable factors work out?
- The firm with 900 staff and no office
(bbc.com, 4 minutes)
At Automattic, the company behind WordPress, every single one of the 930 staff work remotely. The business has no fixed office presence at all.
- People are using voice notes to pre-screen their date’s personality
(mashable.com, 4 minutes)
Voice noting on messaging apps has become a stepping stone that exists “somewhere between exchanging numbers and the actual first date”, according to this piece. Although I’ve made the experience that one might as well just skip this step in between. But obviously preferences differ on this.
- The Audio App That’s Transforming Erotica
(newyorker.com, 6 minutes)
Dipsea, an app founded in 2018, is a subscription-based purveyor of original erotic short stories, designed with women in mind. “Many of Dipsea’s stories end abruptly…”
- What If We Visualized Humanity’s Future in Millennia Instead of Centuries?
(singularityhub.com, 5 minutes)
It doesn’t come natural to plan for and imagine centuries or even millennia ahead, but at the same time, it can be intriguing indeed.
- Deutschlandtakt and Country Size
(pedestrianobservations.com, 10 minutes)
Are you up for some train-timetable nerdery about different ways of train scheduling in France, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands? Here you go!
- Writing to find out what you don’t want to know
(austinkleon.com, 1 minutes)
This is a cool framing of a reason to write. It resonates with me. Nowadays whenever I start writing a longer blog post, I eventually give up and never publish it, because while writing, I do stumble upon gaps in my own understanding, contradictions in my thinking, etc. That’s why I end up curating instead :)
- Our Bias Toward Big Events
(bethanycrystal.com, 5 minutes)
Conferences are usually formed as “big events”, even though most people get much more value from small gatherings, according to Bethany Crystal.
- Why the French love to say no
(bbc.com, 9 minutes)
The same is largely true for Germans, too. But definitely not for Swedes (who would often prefer a “Yes sure. Or…”). I’m still sometimes struggling with that.
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