Act now!

Fascinating post from kottke:

Jewell explains a bit more about what we’re looking at:

The graph illustrates the results of a thought experiment. It assumes constant 30 percent growth throughout the next month in an epidemic like the one in the U.S. right now, and compares the results of stopping one infection today — by actions such as shifting to online classes, canceling of large events and imposing travel restrictions — versus taking the same action one week from today.

The difference is stark. If you act today, you will have averted four times as many infections in the next month: roughly 2,400 averted infections, versus just 600 if you wait one week. That’s the power of averting just one infection, and obviously we would like to avert more than one.

So that’s 1800 infections averted from the actions of just one person. Assuming a somewhat conservative death rate of 1% for COVID-19, that’s 18 deaths averted. Think about that before you head out to the bar tonight or convene your book group as usual

Pretty clear.

Enoch Powell did such harm to this country. When he did his Rivers of Blood speech in 1968 everything changed. I went from being “Lettsy” in the playground to “that black bastard” and “golliwog” overnight. And, thanks to Brexit, it’s happening again. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I still believe in the power of music and culture to change peoples lives, but I’m struggling.

Don Letts, ‘Punk was a refuge from racism’

50 Years since Apollo 13 – Lessons in leadership and planning

In approaching this crisis, their delegation of authority and deference to expertise is almost total. In the face of high-stakes scenarios, it is tempting to wrest control from more junior colleagues. But in 1970 the approach of mission control was quite different. They empowered their most junior team members, giving them total ownership of their specialist stations. They would interrogate their recommendations but not second-guess them. It is a lesson that industry and wider society has largely failed to heed.

Also, they had already planned, tested and created procedures for several of the scenarios they now had to face. Improvisation was kept to minimum, because plans made in the heat of the moment are often flawed.


“Prison often isn’t about correction”

It’s ironic that people go to prison for committing crimes, but inside a prison it’s so lawless. People forget that about 95% of American prisoners get out one day. I did an interview once with a host who prided himself for being tough on crime. I said to him: “Let’s say your future neighbor does 10 years in prison. Do you want him to get a college education in prison? Or do you want him to learn how to brew prison hooch really good while he’s in there?”

When you subject people to very violent and dangerous conditions, that abuse and harm comes back to our communities. Prison often isn’t about correction; it’s about control and repression. It would be nice if it fixed people rather than made them worse.

Christopher Zoukis interview by Poppy Noor

Surveillance Capitalism

Councils are sharing your data in the UK with whoever wants it, basically (” “).

Wolfie Christl, a technologist and researcher who has been investigating the ad-tech industry, said: “Public sector websites and apps should not use invasive third-party tracking at all.”

Johnny Ryan, the chief policy officer at the anonymous web browser Brave, who analysed council websites and shared the findings with the Guardian, said: “Private companies embedded on council websites learn about you. This happens even on the most sensitive occasions, when you might be seeking help from your council.”

Imagine someone was standing outside a council office taking note of the people entering and leaving, maybe what they wear, which department they went to, we’d revolt at the intrusion. This cookie stuff is just less visible, it’s no different.

Brexit: At last the 2016 Show.

After three and a bit years of watching the UK take a nation-sized gap year finding yourself experience, finally, some sort of conclusion to Brexit. Or at least, a definitive that can be pointed at. Obviously, there’s the negotiations to start on the ‘future relationship’ as it’s being termed. And no country is an island, metaphorically speaking, even if it is an actual island.

At 11pm on 31st January (almost two hours ago as I write), the UK officially left the EU. Which means we finally have an answer about why they got into Europe in the first place. To get out again. Or maybe they were never in, and the last 47 years were just a very long drawn out argument about it. Like when you go somewhere and bring your mates, only to realise one of them hates the place and the other two just want a quiet life and keep dropping hints about getting home early because they can’t stand the moaning, so eventually you decide to leave, which is a relief because at least everyone might shut up about it.

But they won’t, will they? There’s no real escape from Brexit, it’s going to rumble on, affecting our lives, travel, trade, jobs, futures. I don’t even live there, just nearby. Close enough to feel the consequences though, and that’s the real reason I can’t just switch it off.

Gloriously alone at last, they say in parts of the UK. If only. No, we’re not going to hear the end of this one for a while yet I’m afraid.