Issue #362: supporter edition

Hi reader,

As mentioned last week, during the month of November Thought Shrapnel will be trimmed down to a roundup of interesting links. I'll then be away during December, recharging my batteries ready for the new year!

    On top of my Moodle work, I'm getting back into consultancy in 2020 through the co-op I helped establish. So if you (or someone / organisation you know) could do our help, please email:

    Thanks for supporting Thought Shrapnel. Just a reminder that I've paused your Patreon charges for November and December!
    Influencer by Alex norris

    Weekly roundup

    These things fluttered into my consciousness over the last seven days...
    • Suspicion makes us human (Aeon) "Conspiracy theories have permeated the history of humanity from our earliest hunter-gatherer days through to modern times. We are less likely than our ancestors to be killed by enemies, and are relatively well-protected by the legal system, to name just a few differences. However, the fact that our environment has changed doesn’t mean that our evolved, ancestral brain has changed along with it. This is the basic idea of an evolutionary mismatch: over the past 12,000 years, the way in which human beings live has changed quickly and dramatically. But on an evolutionary scale, 12,000 years is just a fraction of time, and our inborn predispositions have not changed by much. Our brains are adapted to a stone-age environment but we live in modern times."
    • Blue spaces: why time spent near water is the secret of happiness (The Guardian) "Although living within 1km (0.6 miles) of the coast – and to a lesser extent, within 5km (3.1 miles) – has been associated with better general and mental health, it seems to be the propensity to visit that is key. “We find people who visit the coast, for example, at least twice weekly tend to experience better general and mental health,” says Dr Lewis Elliott, also of the University of Exeter and BlueHealth. “Some of our research suggests around two hours a week is probably beneficial, across many sectors of society.” Even sea views have been associated with better mental health."
    • Everything is Amazing, But Nothing is Ours ( "New technology generally reorganizes our consumption away from ownership and towards access. 100 years ago, music came from a piano, then it came from the record store, and now it comes from Spotify. 100 years ago, food came from a farm, then it came for a grocery store, and now it comes from DoorDash. There’s no denying that this is forward progress for the consumer. You would not want to go backwards. But there’s a cost. The more you can access, the less it’s yours."
    • Disinformation ‘works better than censorship,’ warns internet freedom report (TechCrunch) — "[D]igital platforms, including social media, have emerged as the “new battleground” for democracy, where governments would traditionally use censorship and site-blocking technologies. State and partisan actors have used disinformation and propaganda to distort facts and opinions during elections in dozens of countries over the past year, including the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and the 2019 European Parliament elections."
    • Remember: it’s austerity, not Europe, that broke Britain (The Guardian) "The fundamental problem is that “Europe” has become the focus for many discontents which are not caused by our EU membership but which would be severely aggravated by leaving the customs union and the single market. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research calculates that under new customs and regulatory barriers the British economy would suffer seriously. Nearly all reputable analysts agree."
    • Teen uses external cameras and projection-mapping onto the a-pillar to "solve" blind-spots (BoingBoing) "Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots" is 14 year old Alaina Gassler's prizewinning science-fair project, which uses cameras mounted to the exterior of the car and feeding their video to internal projectors, which projection-map them onto the a-pillars that otherwise obscure the driver's view."
    • Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids (The Atlantic) "Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention. And in many developed societies, parents now pay more attention to individual achievement and happiness than anything else. However much we praise kindness and caring, we’re not actually showing our kids that we value these traits."
    • GDPR fines were meant to rock the data privacy world. They haven't (WIRED) — "GDPR's weirdest fine so far. Spanish data protection agency, AEPD, fined the country's top football division, La Liga, €250,000 (£215,000) for spying on people who had downloaded its app. The creators of the app promised it would offer real-time game updates and scores, however it was also using the microphone and GPS location of phones to listen to what was going on around fans."
    • Man accidentally buys 1,000 chickens (BoingBoing) "Steve Morrow saw an "urgent sale" ad on the New Zealand auction site Trade Me from a free-range chicken farmer who was shutting down and selling off his 1,000 chickens; Morrow thought he was bidding on one chicken, but ended up buying all 1,000 of them for NZD1.50."
    • Twitter in India: Why was rival Mastodon trending? (BBC News) "Some of India's most influential Twitter users are looking to move to little-known network Mastodon amid an outcry over Twitter moderation methods."
    Image by Alex Norris (although I prefer this NSFW version!)
    Until next week,
    PS Check out what I've been up to this week in Weeknote 45/2019
    Doug Belshaw
    Dr. Doug Belshaw is an Open Educational Thinkerer, currently working with Moodle and We Are Open Co-op to improve our world.

    You can connect with Doug by replying to this email, or via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Mastodon (here's a guide to getting started with latter!)

    Some say he's ready. Others say he's steady. No-one thinks he's heady.
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