Clearing out the link pile

Ed Miliband joins Total Defence!

Labour councils across England will act as the “last line of defence” against the controversial health act, Ed Miliband said as he pledged to overturn its “free market, free-for-all principles”.

Speaking at the launch of the Labour local election campaign in Birmingham, Miliband said Labour councils would use the public health and well-being boards to resist the most damaging aspects of the Health and Social Care Act.

Meanwhile, the NE London Foundation Trust wrote to me to confirm that I am now a member. An amazingly large proportion of the letter is devoted to encouraging me to join the NHS staff-discount scheme, which apparently I now can. For some reason this reminds me of a remark my old college mate Tim Lewis made in San Francisco the week before last, to the effect that Virgin Atlantic is the New Labour airline. And on the flight back, yes, there is something distinctly Blairite about their general aesthetic. Boomer nostalgia/exciting purple/lower-case type/gratuitous Ginger Spice Union Flags/forced jollity/total lack of anything like dignity or design austerity.

Berlin’s city fathers destroyed the world’s best airport once, and now they’re going to do it all over again by killing off the wonderful spaceship/cold war modern, 20 metres from the kerb to the plane, German architecture and French Army engineering Berlin-Tegel so you can damn well traipse in from Schönefeld, which will become a giant shopping centre with a runway.

France, delightedly nuclear-armed power to our south, has absolutely no doubt about sticking with the Bomb and indeed maintaining both a submarine and an air-launched capability. The BBC interviews Jean-Dominique Merchet, Francois Heisbourg, both well worth reading.

Bruce Sterling apparently didn’t hear about the whole homeless-person-as-support-structure-for-WLAN-box thing so he hasn’t stuck SXSW right there with the CBOSS stand at Mobile World Congress, but he does have some interesting remarks although as always his commitment to staring right into the future’s eyes seems to render him less critical than he should be.

He has company. The New Aesthetic has the “scenius” of London’s Silicon Roundabout to support it. These people are working creatives of Bridle’s generation, with their networked tentacles sunk deep in interaction design, literature, fashion and architecture. They do have some strange ideas, but they can’t all be crazy….It’s also deep. If you want to get into arcane matters such as interaction design, computational aesthetics, covert surveillance, military tech, there’s a lot of room for that activity in the New Aesthetic. The New Aesthetic carries a severe, involved air of Pynchonian erudition.

So, ah, it appears to be me?

“Theory objects” from the Internet are squamous, crabgrass-like entities, where people huddle around swollen, unstable databases

And he thinks that’s a good thing. Squamous = either skin cancer or Cthulhu. Swollen, unstable database = big problem. Huddling around it = pointless. And what the North American-blinkered fuck is crabgrass, I’ve not seen any growing around Telco 2.0 Towers in the Curtain Road heart of Sillyabout? I’m tempted to use it as a synonym for vague futurist-y guff. “Hmmm, I see your point, but I think the next slide is nothing but crabgrass.”

Coming soon

A review of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow for the Fistful of Euros. That will be the high-style eurocratic version.

Another review of Kahneman for this fine blog. That is tentatively titled Kahneman for Thugs and will be a sort of juddering, noisy remix of the other one concentrating on action-oriented political advice derived from it.

Further action on the Lobster Project. I ported quite a bit of it from the pile of scripts on my laptop into ScraperWiki today, and I now need to debug and shake down those sections of the workflow. ScraperWiki now has the awesome NetworkX war-on-some-kinds-of-terror social network analytics lib, so I’m scraping in data, creating NX objects, and then reading out analytics in a string of loosely coupled scrapers. I’ve even been giving the look and feel some thought…sorry…oohing over fonts.


  1. I live 15 minutes’ walk from Silicon Roundabout. Still no cable.




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