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Feb 24, 2024: Systems thinking and the FRAMED mnemonic I’m currently studying towards my first module of a planned MSc in Systems Thinking through the Open University. I’ve written a fair …

Feb 24, 2024: The war on the URL A typically jargon-filled but nevertheless insightful post by Venkatesh Rao. This one discusses the ‘war’ on the URL, something that Rao …

Feb 24, 2024: Educators in an AI generated world Helen Beetham comment on OpenAI’s Sora AI video generating engine in relation to education. She makes three fantastic points: first, that …

Feb 22, 2024: Random advice from Ryan I know this is just another one of Ryan Holiday’s somewhat-rambling list posts, but there’s still some good advice in it. Here’s a …

Feb 22, 2024: The line between “just enough” and “too much” can fluctuate When I was younger, I wanted to be a minimalist. I thought that famous photo of Steve Jobs sitting on the floor surrounded only by a very few …

Feb 22, 2024: We tell ourselves stories in order to live M.E. Rothwell publishes Cosmographia which hits the sweet spot for me, and for many, being focused on “history, myth, and the arts”. He …

Feb 22, 2024: What kind of online world are we manifesting with AI search? Withering words from the consistently-excellent auteur of internet culture, Ryan Broderick. I’m a fan of the Arc browser, but I fear …

Feb 21, 2024: Vomit on my sweater already / mom’s spaghetti If you’re not into rap or hip hop you may not fully understand the genius of Eminem’s rhyme schemes. If that’s the case, I suggest …

Feb 21, 2024: At the (current) boundary of 'AI ethics' A trio of links, depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. The last post is definitely NSFW and quite disturbing. I’m presenting …

Feb 21, 2024: Bet you didn't know this about Botox This article is absolutely wild. Only a tiny, tiny amount of the toxin from which Botox is developed is required to generate $2.8 billion per year in …

Feb 19, 2024: Economic incentives and parental leave This is an odd article which seems to be simply making the point that paternity leave is a good thing, but that fathers should consider taking it …

Feb 19, 2024: Human writing in the age of generative AI I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment behind this post by James Shelley, discussing writing in the age of generative AI. When I mention that I …

Feb 19, 2024: The cause of our anger is not other people “Don’t use your anger for this, use it for that!" is the central message of an article in Vox. But if you reject the underlying …

Feb 17, 2024: Every default macOS wallpaper in 6k Whichever operating system you’re using, having a beautiful image as your background image or screensaver is always a nice thing to have. This …

Feb 17, 2024: Building a Bonfire I’m delighted to see this article about Bonfire, a project I’ve contributed to on various occasions since it was forked from the codebase …

Feb 17, 2024: AI-generated video is coming for your reality It’s been almost impossible to miss the announcement from OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT and DALL-E) about Sora “an AI model that can …

Feb 14, 2024: Brexit means Brexit in football, too It’s taken The Guardian about five years, I reckons, to pick up on this phenomenon. My son and his mates were doing ‘Brexit tackles’ …

Feb 11, 2024: Writing, personal branding, and capitalism Suw Charman-Anderson reflects on something that has definitely shifted over my lifetime: writing for money. These days, we live in the ‘creator …

Feb 11, 2024: Generative AI means we need to use art school approaches to assessment Great post by Dave White, who works at University of the Arts, London. His point, which is well-made, is that in the world of Generative AI, we have …

Feb 11, 2024: Eye-opening heat map study Perhaps sadly unsurprising to anyone who has ever talked about this with women, or who has lived as a child in an area that is less-than-safe. As an …

Feb 9, 2024: First Thought Shrapnel 'newsletter' via micro.blog! If you’re reading this, and have previously subscribed to Thought Shrapnel by email, then great! Everything’s working! If you subscribe …

Jan 25, 2024: The death of consensus reality I mentioned the podcast Your Undivided Attention in a recent post. Last summer, I listened to an episode featuring Nita Farahany which I thought was …

Jan 25, 2024: Preparing for a year of electoral disinformation I listened to an interesting episode of the Your Undivided Attention podcast a few days ago which approached questions around AI from the perspective …

Jan 25, 2024: Doing something about the UK schooling class divide In the UK, prices of family-sized homes are closely linked to the Ofsted rating of local schools. This leads to segregation based on ability to pay. …

Jan 25, 2024: Shared persuasion tactics I feel like this fits well with some stuff WAO has been revisiting this week around challenger brands and crafting messages for specific audiences. …

Jan 24, 2024: An 'anti-social network' you post to via email subject lines On the one hand, this is awesome. On the other, what would I use it for? Mine’s here. Don’t expect much! I think if I wanted something …

Jan 8, 2024: Welcome to the new home of Thought Shrapnel! Excuse the mess while we unpack boxes, etc.

Jan 7, 2024: What is degrowth communism? This interview with Kohei Saito in EL PAÍS talks about the importance of having a positive view of the future, with “a society that adapts to …

Jan 7, 2024: Spy windows? No technology is neutral, and vendors are only ever going to tout the positive qualities. Take this example: it’s a way to create a camera out …

Jan 7, 2024: We become what we behold An insightful and nuanced post from Stephen Downes, who reflects on various experiences, from changing RSS reader through to the way he takes …

Jan 4, 2024: Your future is statistically more likely to be better than your past Another fantastic article by Arthur C. Brooks for The Atlantic which draws on research about how your future is likely to be happier than your past. …

Jan 4, 2024: Logical fallacies, cognitive biases, and more I always enjoy posts like this because I invariably learn something new. There’s some gems in here, some I hadn’t come across before, and …

Jan 4, 2024: Would you survive in medieval Europe? Realistically, I’m never going to watch an hour-long YouTube video which is mainly a talking head. I mean, I’m into history, but I’m …

Jan 4, 2024: The rich are scared we're going to eat them I’m reading Roots at the moment, the novel by Alex Haley about an African man captured and sold into slavery. I’m at the point of the …

Jan 3, 2024: Remember distinct music scenes and culinary traditions? Yeah, they're coming back. Anything that Anil Dash writes is worth reading and this, his first article for Rolling Stone, is no different. I haven’t quoted it here, but I …

Jan 3, 2024: Giving up is an attempt to make a different future This is some incredible writing from psychotherapist Adam Phillips. It’s an edited extract from his forthcoming book On Giving Up and is based …

Jan 3, 2024: We already have solutions for a lot of problems, we just don’t use them A belated Happy New Year, and what better way to start off 2024 than by this reminder that quite a lot of what’s holding us back in the world is …

Dec 28, 2023: Best of Thought Shrapnel 2023 Hello hello. I hope you're well 🙂 According to my stats, the following posts, all published in the last 12 months, were the most accessed on Thought …

Nov 30, 2023: Back next year! That's it for Thought Shrapnel for 2023. Make sure you're subscribed for when we're back next year! (RSS / newsletter) Image: Unsplash

Nov 18, 2023: Avoiding the 'Dark Triads' Arthur C. Brooks, whose writing I always enjoy, writes on sociopaths, narcissists, and ‘Dark Triad’ personalities. These Dark Triads are …

Nov 18, 2023: The 9-5 shift is a relatively recent invention As a Xennial, I have all of the guilt for not working hard enough — along with a desire to live a life more fulfilling and holistic than my parents. …

Nov 15, 2023: Towards an epistemology of the humanities Lorraine Daston highlights the lack of a systematic approach to knowledge (epistemology) in the humanities, unlike in the sciences. This gap affects …

Nov 15, 2023: More like Grammarly than Hal 9000 I’m currently studying towards an MSc in Systems Thinking and earlier this week created a GPT to help me. I fed in all of the course materials, …

Nov 15, 2023: Overemployment as anti-precarity strategy Historically, the way we fought back against oppressive employers and repressive regimes was to band together into unions. The collective bargaining …

Nov 14, 2023: There are better approaches than just having no friends at work We get articles like this because we live in a world inescapably tied to neoliberalism and hierarchical ways of organising work. I’m sure the …

Nov 14, 2023: Building a system for success, without the glitches Wise words from Seth Godin. It’s a twist on the advice to stop doing things that maybe used to work but don’t any more. The …

Nov 13, 2023: Is the only sustainable growth 'degrowth'? This article by Noah Smith gave me pause for thought. There’s plenty of people talking about ‘degrowth’ at the moment and, I have to …

Nov 13, 2023: If you need a cheat sheet, it's not 'natural language' Benedict Evans, whose post about leaving Twitter I featured last week, has written about AI tools such as ChatGPT from a product point of view. He …

Nov 13, 2023: Cosplaying adulthood I discovered this article published at The Cut while browsing Hacker News. I was immediately drawn to it, because one of the main examples it uses is …

Nov 11, 2023: You'll be hearing a lot more about nodules It was only this year that I first heard about nodules, rock-shaped objects formed over millions of years on the sea bed which contain rare earth …

Nov 11, 2023: Our ancestors were using complex tools and woodworking approaches almost half a million years ago Nature reports that, at the Kalambo Falls archaeological site in Zambia, researchers have unearthed the earliest known examples of woodworking — …

Nov 11, 2023: Pufflings can't resist the bright lights of the city I haven’t seen puffins in real life very often, but they’re associated with the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, my home …

Nov 10, 2023: Co-Intelligence, GPTs, and autonomous agents The big technology news this past week has been OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E, announcing the availability of GPTs. Confusing naming …

Nov 10, 2023: Small sufferings As I’ve mentioned sporadically for over a decade, I have a cold shower every morning. Not only is it good for mental health, but it’s a way of adding …

Nov 10, 2023: Twitter now feels like the Brewster’s Millions of tech I’d like to share two ‘leaving Twitter’ posts I came across yesterday. Theyoccupy somewhat opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of …

Nov 9, 2023: Bill Gates on why AI agents are better than Clippy While there’s nothing particularly new in this post by Bill Gates, it’s nevertheless a good one to send to people who might be interested …

Nov 9, 2023: The fragmentation of the (social) web These days, I lean heavily on Ryan Broderick’s Garbage Day newsletter to know what’s going on in the areas of social media I don’t …

Nov 9, 2023: AI generated images in a time of war It’s one thing user-generated content being circulated around social media for the purposes of disinformation. It’s another thing entirely …

Nov 8, 2023: The Societal Side-eye I’ll turn 43 next month. I seem to have a lot more grey hair than other people my age. Some people act towards me as if I’m old. Perhaps I …

Nov 8, 2023: The first half of life is Tetris; the second half is Jenga I don’t think much of the poem, but I’m stealing the first line of this article as the title of this post. It’s a useful metaphor! …

Nov 8, 2023: Don't tell me that hiring isn't broken Despite the great work being done around Open Recognition, the main use case for digital credentials remains helping people get jobs. Which means that …

Nov 6, 2023: Accepting and trying to deal with climate as an overriding priority I need to dig into this BBC R&D report, but it looks fascinating at first glance. I recognise the names of some of the people who were interviewed …

Nov 6, 2023: Therapy is simple Craig Mod is a couple of months older than me, as I turn 43 just before Christmas. Like me, he’s gone through some therapy. Unlike me, he lives …

Nov 6, 2023: Sitting staring at a wall for hours Some wise words from author Warren Ellis, whose Sunday newsletter ‘Orbital Operations’ is well worth subscribing to. Related: although she …

Nov 3, 2023: 'Restorying' your life as a hero's journey There are some people, perhaps most people, who do not expect setbacks and problems in life. They seem to think that it should all be smooth sailing, …

Nov 3, 2023: The real threat to manhood: remaining children This is an interesting article that, to be honest, I expected a bit more from. It comments on some obvious things such as how problematic a rigid and …

Nov 3, 2023: Happiness vs GDP Making the world a happier, fairer, safer place seems like an idea that most people can get behind. But how do you do it? Although there’s a …

Nov 2, 2023: The Fediverse model can help fix the internet This article in the MIT Technology Review largely comes to the same conclusions as my comment in another Thought Shrapnel post today. If the web is …

Nov 2, 2023: Paying to avoid ads is paying to avoid tracking This article is the standard way of reporting Meta’s announcement that, to comply with a new EU ruling, they will allow users to pay not to be …

Nov 2, 2023: Looking out of someone else's window Well, this is absolutely delightful. The view below is from a window of Hotel Washington looking out over the monument in Washington D.C. but there …

Nov 1, 2023: Soul houses and false doors Egyptology is endlessly fascinating to me. I only got to scratch the surface teaching a course called Medicine Through Time as a History teacher …

Nov 1, 2023: Stonehenge had nothing to do with druids I’ve only ever driven past Stonehenge, as it’s a long way from where I grew up, and by the time I was old enough to go independently there …

Nov 1, 2023: The French Jesuit priest who surveyed Roman forts by air I’m not sure what’s more fascinating: the scale of the Roman army’s building (in this case, in Syria) or the French Jesuit priest …

Oct 31, 2023: Superorganisms and solidarity I haven’t gone enough into Buddhism to understand whether what is described in this article by Richard D. Bartlett constitutes as secular …

Oct 31, 2023: Serious art, influencers, and AI This is quite the article by Rob Horning. It begins with a social media spat between an influencer and an art critic, takes a brief detour into the …

Oct 31, 2023: Running slow and short There are books that have changed my life, but there are also podcast episodes. One example of this is Episode #787 of the Art of Manliness podcast, …

Oct 30, 2023: Dynamic ontologies and music genres As a music lover and someone who has more than a passing interest in dynamic ontologies, I found this analysis of Spotify’s changing …

Oct 30, 2023: The social semi-permeable membrane I never used LiveJournal, but I love Ben Werdmuller’s description of it as a place to journal in private with your friends. Although …

Oct 30, 2023: Systems and interconnected disaster risks When you see that humans have exceeded six of the nine boundaries which keep Earth habitable, it’s more than a bit worrying. But then when you …

Oct 26, 2023: System innovation is driven by reshaping relationships within the system As I may have mentioned a little too often recently, I’m about to start an MSc in Systems Thinking. So I’m always on the lookout for …

Oct 26, 2023: Tech typologisation People love being typologised. I’m no different, although my result as an ‘Abstract Explorer’ in IBM’s Tech Type quiz …

Oct 26, 2023: Is this the end of the 'extremely online' era? As I mentioned in a recent post, you can’t win a war against system designed to destroy your attention. You have to try a different strategy. …

Oct 25, 2023: Treating depression with hot yoga Although I don’t think he went for the reasons given in this article, my late, great friend Dai Barnes used to love hot yoga. In fact, living as …

Oct 25, 2023: Why haven't you bought a Steam Deck yet? I love my Steam Deck, and am so pleased that I not only bought it, but I bought the maxed-out version, despite the cost. This post goes into reasons …

Oct 25, 2023: Zoom backgrounds with a Japanese nature retreat vibe Not only did I love Swarnali Mukherjee’s writing in this post, I also absolutely adored the image that went with it. You may have noticed that I …

Oct 24, 2023: The casual ableism of futurism This article by Janet Gunter discusses the endemic ableism she’s discovered due to her new and invisible disability (Long Covid). As a …

Oct 24, 2023: Philosophy and friendship Laura Kennedy writes about loneliness in a post that documents her experiences moving from Ireland to London, and then on to Australia. What I’m …

Oct 24, 2023: Laying to rest a foundational myth The widely accepted “Man the Hunter” theory proposes that during human evolution, men evolved to hunt while women focused on gathering and …

Oct 23, 2023: What, after all, is 'redemption'? This article by Hanif Abdurraqib in The Paris Review draws analogies between one of my favourite games, Red Dead Redemption 2, and his own life. …

Oct 23, 2023: The inner world as the ultimate prison I wanted to quote so much of this article that it would have ended up being a Borges-like 1:1 map of the territory. Instead, I’ll simply share …

Oct 23, 2023: Monetising a hobby is different to solving a difficult problem for people ready to pay Life is never as simple as a 2x2 matrix, but they’re incredibly useful for helping illustrate a key message. In this post, Seth Godin uses one …

Oct 21, 2023: Content-neutral sentence starters and phrases for academic writing As part of preparing for my upcoming MSc I’ve been working through a course about preparing for postgraduate study. One of the links from that …

Oct 21, 2023: AI, domination, and moral character I don’t know enough on a technical level to know whether this is true or false, but it’s interesting from an ethical point of view. …

Oct 21, 2023: Notification literacy, monk mode, and going outside for a walk Back on my now-defunct literaci.es blog I had a post about notification literacy. My point was that instead of starting from the default position of …

Oct 20, 2023: Microcast #102 — Rituals and Routines A very short microcast about reading by the light of a fish tank in the early hours of the morning. Show notes 'Fish' by Mr. Scruff

Oct 19, 2023: Parenting the parents This article in The Guardian discusses the challenges and opportunities of “parenting” one’s own parents, especially as people live …

Oct 19, 2023: 2024 is going to be a wild ride of AI-generated content It’s on the NSFW side of things, but if you’re in any doubt that we’re entering a crazy world of AI-generated content, just check …

Oct 19, 2023: The techno-feudal economy Yanis Varoufakis is best known for his short stint as Greek finance minister in 2015 during a stand-off with the European Central Bank, the …

Oct 18, 2023: Modular learning and credentialing I’ve got far more to say about this than the space I’ve got here on Thought Shrapnel. This article from edX is in the emerging paradigm …

Oct 18, 2023: Handwriting, note-taking, and recall I write by hand every day, but not much. While I used to keep a diary in which I’d write several pages, I now keep one that encourages a …

Oct 18, 2023: AI and stereotypes “Garbage in, garbage out” is a well-known phrase in computing. It applies to AI as well, except in this case the ‘garbage’ is …

Oct 17, 2023: Setting up a digital executor A short article in The Guardian about making sure that people can do useful things with your digital stuff should you pass away. I have the Google …

Oct 17, 2023: In what ways does this technology increase people's agency? This is a reasonably long article, part of a series by Robin Berjon about the future of the internet. I like the bit where he mentions that …

Oct 17, 2023: Don’t just hold back, take the time to pass it on I have thoughts, but don’t have anything useful to say publicly about this. So instead I’m going to just link to another article by Tim …

Oct 16, 2023: Doing your job well does not entail attending more meetings There’s a lot of swearing in this blog post, but then that’s what makes it both amusing and bang on the money. As ever, there’s a …

Oct 16, 2023: People quit managers, not jobs It turns out that the saying that “people quit managers, not jobs” is actually true. Research carried out by the Chartered Management …

Oct 16, 2023: People may let you down, but AI Tinder won't I was quite surprised to learn that the person who attempted to kill the Queen with a crossbow a couple of years ago was encouraged to do so by an AI …

Oct 14, 2023: A steampunk Byzantium with nukes John Gray, philosopher and fellow son of the north-east of England, is probably best known for Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals. I …

Oct 14, 2023: NFTs as skeuomorphic baby-steps? I came across this piece by Simon de la Rouviere via Jay Springett about how NFTs can’t die. Although I don’t have particularly strong …

Oct 14, 2023: Where next for social media? There’s nothing new about the idea of a splinternet or original about observing that people are retreating to dark forests of social media. …

Oct 13, 2023: Holographic depth of field Well this is cool. Although there are limited ways of refocusing a shot after taking it, this new method allows that to be taken to the next level …

Oct 13, 2023: Pre-committed defaults Uri from Atoms vs Bits identifies a useful trick to quell indecisiveness. They call it a ‘release valve principle’ but I like what he …

Oct 13, 2023: 3 bits of marriage advice I’m not sure about likening marriage to a business relationship, but after being with my wife for more than half my life, and married for 20 …

Oct 12, 2023: Microcast #101 — Self-esteem, pies, and moving house More solo waffle about various things. I could pretend there's a consistent thread, but then I'd be lying. Show notes All aboard the U-shaped curve Mr …

Oct 11, 2023: A reward is not 'more email' I’ve just signed up to support Jay Springett’s work and am looking forward to receiving his zine. As he points out, it’s a bit odd …

Oct 11, 2023: Curiosity and infinite detail This is a wonderful reminder by David Cain that there’s value in retraining our childlike ability to zoom in on the myriad details in life. Not …

Oct 11, 2023: Well, when you put it like that... This came across my timeline earlier this week and it’s a pretty stark reminder / wake-up call. For ‘Mastodon’, of course, read …

Oct 10, 2023: A lonely and surveilled landscape Kyle Chayka, writing in The New Yorker, points to what many of us have felt over the decade or so: the internet just isn’t fun any more. This …

Oct 10, 2023: And so it continues... As we start the run-up to a General Election in the UK (date still to be announced) the deepfakes will ramp up in intensity. This one is a purported …

Oct 10, 2023: Billionaires shouldn't exist, even if they're philanthropists I’m sure Charles Feeney was a great guy, and it certainly sounds like he gave the money he amassed to very good causes (and anonymously too!) …

Oct 9, 2023: Nuance and depth through long(er)form reading Tantek Çelik reflects on a post by Ben Werdmuller, who wrote a script to be able to quickly follow the blogs of people he follows on Mastodon. As Ben …

Oct 9, 2023: AIs and alignment with human values This is a fantastic article by Jessica Dai, cofounder of Reboot. What I particularly appreciate is the way that she reframes the fear about Artificial …

Oct 9, 2023: Microplastics, tyres, and EVs When I took delivery of my electric vehicle (EV) earlier this month, I already knew that it would have actually been better for the environment for me …

Oct 7, 2023: Social media platforms have been reading the airlines' enshittification handbook This year, Cory Doctorow has been making waves with his, as usual, spot-on analysis of what’s going on in the world. What he calls …

Oct 7, 2023: On the importance of fluency in other people's love languages I was talking to someone yesterday about ‘love languages’ which they hadn’t come across before. It’s easy to dismiss these …

Oct 7, 2023: Aristotle diagnoses our current political problems The latest issue of New Philosopher magazine is about conflict. As usual, they quote a philosopher on the subject, in this case Aristotle in his …

Oct 6, 2023: The rolling drama of the climate crisis just got a whole lot worse It’s massively concerning that, although scientists seem to understand why the earth has been warming due to climate change over the last few …

Oct 6, 2023: Five kinds of friends Anyone who’s read Montaigne’s Essays will probably be slightly jealous of his friendship with Étienne de La Boétie. The latter tragically …

Oct 6, 2023: Anxiety, deadness, and aggression I can’t quite remember where I came across this article, but I’ve subscribed to the online magazine that it’s from, as it seems …

Oct 5, 2023: Microcast #100 — Awkward Conversations Instead of avoiding difficult conversations, aim to make them less awkward. Here's one way. Show notes FONT and Nonviolent Communication Nonviolent …

Oct 4, 2023: Different levels of reading (technologies) This post by author Nick Harkaway was shared by Warren Ellis in his most recent newsletter. It’s something that my wife and I have talked about …

Oct 4, 2023: Perhaps switch to another search engine? I use a lot of Google products. I’m typing this on a laptop on which I’ve installed ChromeOS Flex, I use Google Workspace at work, …

Oct 4, 2023: Climate havens I grew up in an ex-mining town, surrounded by ex-mining villages. At one point in my teenage years, I can distinctly remember wondering why people …

Oct 3, 2023: In the long run, people can only treat you the way you let them  This blog post, which I discovered via Hacker News, is about ultimatums around ‘return to office’ mandates/ultimatums. But it’s also …

Oct 3, 2023: More on the vagus nerve (and exercise) I mentioned a few weeks ago how researchers have been trying to electrically stimulate the vagus nerve, which is now thought to help treat everything …

Oct 3, 2023: University is about more than jobs and earning power Next month, I embark on my fourth postgraduate qualification: an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice. I also believe that alternative credentials such …

Oct 2, 2023: Intelligent failure Andrew Curry links to Amy Edmondsen’s new book about ‘intelligent failure’. She’s also got a recorded talk from the RSA on the …

Oct 2, 2023: Falling asleep on the couch watching films I can count on the fingers of no hands the number of times I’ve fallen asleep watching a film at home. I have, however, fallen asleep watching …

Oct 2, 2023: Yuval Noah Harari on the post-truth revolutionary right Friend and collaborator Bryan Mathers recommended this episode of The Rest is Politics: Leading to me. While I’m a regular listener to the main …

Sep 30, 2023: Microcast #99 — EVs Reflections on taking delivery of an electric vehicle (EV), including charging, business lease, and other rambling thoughts. Show notes Polestar 2 …

Sep 29, 2023: Songs are not meme stocks Remember NFTs? This article in The Guardian will help remind you of the heady days of early 2022 when digital images of monkeys were apparently …

Sep 29, 2023: Adversarial interoperability to return to a world of 'fast companies' Cory Doctorow is one of my favourite people on the entire planet. I’ve heard him speak in person and online on numerous occasions. I met him a …

Sep 29, 2023: Sycamore Stump There is, or rather was, a tree that symbolised the North East of England. Standing at a dip in the ground along Hadrian’s Wall called …

Sep 28, 2023: Please consider stopping eating animals I don’t know how many people reading this are vegans or vegetarians. I was a pescetarian from October 2017 to January 2020 and then, since then, …

Sep 28, 2023: 'Personalisation' is something that humans do Audrey Watters, formerly the ‘Cassandra’ of edtech, is now writing about health, nutrition, and fitness technologies at Second Breakfast. …

Sep 28, 2023: Migraines and 'ability' Granted it’s been over a decade, but when I worked at a university I had to be on the ‘disabled’ register due to my migraines. That …

Sep 27, 2023: No career progression on a dead planet There’s a film starring Matt Damon called Elysium from 2013 in which the wealthy live on a man-made space station in luxury, while the rest of …

Sep 27, 2023: AI generated images with subliminal messages You’ve probably seen some of these already. Someone discovered that if you use the generator for QR codes but feed it something different, it …

Sep 27, 2023: On preparing, issuing, and claiming badges I attended a Navigatr webinar at lunchtime today where they shared this graphic which underscores the importance of encouraging badge earners to share …

Sep 26, 2023: Telling stories using cartoons Liza Donnelly is a cartoonist for the New Yorker. In this article, which is an output from some preparatory work for a talk she’s preparing, she …

Sep 26, 2023: AI = surveillance Social networks are surveillance systems. Loyalty cards are surveillance systems. AI language models are surveillance systems. We live in a …

Sep 26, 2023: Screens, addiction, and parenting I spent my lunchtime packaging up my beloved PlayStation 5. I’m going to send it to my brother-in-law and his family until my son heads off to …

Sep 25, 2023: Conspicuously sesquipedalian communication Getting people to understand your ideas is a difficult thing. That’s why it’s been so gratifying to work at various times with Bryan …

Sep 25, 2023: What people are really using generative AI for As I’ve written several times before here on Thought Shrapnel, society seems to act as though the giant, monolithic, hugely profitable porn …

Sep 25, 2023: Oh great, another skills passport I’ve spent the last 12 years working in the ecosystem around Open Badges, which provides an alternative accreditation system. It didn’t …

Sep 23, 2023: If your heart isn’t it, it’s probably because there’s no heart anywhere in the process One thing I’ve learned spending over a decade thinking about Open Badges and alternative credentials is that hiring is broken. Although there …

Sep 23, 2023: A trickle, a ripple, a slow rush This article by Antonia Malchik reflects on her personal journey moving back to her hometown in Montana. It focuses on her deep sense of gratitude for …

Sep 23, 2023: If LLMs are puppets, who's pulling the strings? The article from the Mozilla Foundation surfaces into the human decisions that shape generative AI. It highlights the ethical and regulatory …

Sep 22, 2023: Bad historical maps Like the author of this article, I love a good map. Whether it’s trekking across hills and mountains with an OS map, or looking through …

Sep 22, 2023: More treasures and secrets from ancient Egypt Underwater archaeologists have discovered a sunken temple off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, filled with artefacts related to the god Amun and the …

Sep 22, 2023: Death, wrecks, and harsh weather There was a time, about a decade ago, where although I was based from home, I’d be travelling pretty much every week for work. I was abroad once …

Sep 21, 2023: Microcast #98 — Endorsement The introduction to some thoughts on endorsement using Open Badges and Verifiable Credentials within networks of trust. Show notes The Value of …

Sep 20, 2023: Virtual spaces for learning and collaboration Today, I’ve been doing a UCL short course. As we were coming back from a break, we were discussing the lack of ‘embodiedness’ in …

Sep 20, 2023: The Social Media Archipelago On 1st October, I’ll be transitioning the Thought Shrapnel newsletter to Substack. More about that here. What’s interesting is the …

Sep 20, 2023: This isn't working. Can we talk about that? Thankfully, there’s no-one calling me back into the office. But this post is about people who are being recalled — as well as those working in …

Sep 19, 2023: Constructs, meta-constructs, and shared cognitive spaces Posts like this one by Venkatesh Rao are like catnip to me. He explores the concept of the ‘real world’ as a construct shaped by …

Sep 19, 2023: Research shows people in most countries are anti-capitalist I came across this via fellow Sunderland AFC supporter Andrew Curry’s Just Two Things newsletter. We also share similar political views, so I …

Sep 19, 2023: What's good for us is also good for the planet I came across this via Dense Discovery, which is one of a number of additional newsletters to which I would recommend Thought Shrapnel readers …

Sep 18, 2023: The Empty Boat This was cited in something I read last week and I thought it was worth making it easy for me to re-find. There are plenty of philosophers, including …

Sep 18, 2023: Maybe it makes sense to talk to plants after all Although I’ve alluded to talking to plants in the title for this post, the interesting thing here is that research shows they can sense …

Sep 18, 2023: Noise and working from home I’ve worked from home for the last eleven years. For the last nine years, I’ve lived near the middle of a market town in the north east of …

Sep 16, 2023: Shrinkflation, sizes, and shaming I’d be surprised if ‘shrinkflation’ isn’t word of the year for 2023. For those unaware, it’s the reason why prices for …

Sep 16, 2023: Dark Tech and Project Cybersyn I read Evgeny Morozov’s book To Save Everything, Click Here a few years ago and found it frustrating. It’s about the “folly of …

Sep 16, 2023: Good news on Covid treatments Well this is promising. Researchers have identified a critical weakness in COVID-19 in its reliance on specific human proteins for replication. The …

Sep 15, 2023: Navigating the landscape of Digital and Media Literacy  The report from Tactical Tech focuses on Digital Media Literacy (DML), exploring its complexities and the challenges associated with how it’s …

Sep 15, 2023: Ducks, prompting, and LLMs Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT don’t allow you to get certain information. Think things like how to make a bomb, how to kill people …

Sep 15, 2023: The supermarket is a panopticon My son’s now old enough to get ‘loyalty cards’ for supermarkets, coffee shops, and places to eat. He thinks this is great: free …

Sep 14, 2023: Microcast #097 — What do we mean by 'consensus'? Exploring different conceptions of 'consensus' using polls on the Fediverse and LinkedIn, as well as reflecting on my own experience. Show notes Poll …

Sep 13, 2023: Piracy and the art of cultural archiving Shortly before Daft Punk’s album Discovery was released, I managed to download a version of it which must have been exfiltrated from the studio. …

Sep 13, 2023: Greatest films of all time? I confess to only having watched one of the top 10 films on this list, which is put together mainly be critics and people who work in the film …

Sep 13, 2023: Fandom and AI generated music If you haven’t discovered AI-generated songs by your favourite artists, then you’re missing a trick. Try I’m a Barbie Girl by Johnny …

Sep 12, 2023: Saving the world using a 2x2 matrix I’m a fan of Venkatesh Rao’s writing, and in this post he explores what we mean by ‘saving’ when we talk about ‘saving …

Sep 12, 2023: The complexities of distraction I really enjoyed this essay by David Schurman Wallace in The Paris Review about being distracted while writing. It reminded me of a much shorter …

Sep 12, 2023: Developing your niche The website of the guy behind this post is a bit too heavy on the self-marketing for my liking, but I did like the diagram in this post about …

Sep 11, 2023: Monday morning feeling This is definitely a mood. Just a cat pondering the meaning of life. Source: Who the Hell Are You? | The New Yorker

Sep 11, 2023: The burnout curve I stumbled across this on LinkedIn. There doesn't seem to be an authoritative source yet other than the author's (Nick Petrie) social media posts, …

Sep 11, 2023: Status detection systems I listened to a fascinating episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast while out running over the weekend. The focus was on a new book by Will Storr …

Sep 9, 2023: The punishment for being authentic is becoming someone else’s content This short piece by Drew Austin reminds me of a couple of links I posted yesterday about Non-places and TikTok’s effect on migration. There are so …

Sep 9, 2023: Job crafting, identity, and fulfilment This article by Lan Nguyen Chaplin, a professor of marketing at a prestigious business school, reflects my own experience. Those jobs I’ve …

Sep 9, 2023: AI writing detectors don’t work If you understand how LLMs such as ChatGPT work then it’s pretty obvious that there’s no way “it” can “know” …

Sep 8, 2023: Microcast #096 — Getting back in the saddle Explaining what I've been up to and the difference between being a hedgehog and a fox. Show notes The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin We Are …

Sep 8, 2023: Non-places I’m a big fan of Guy Debord’s work but have never read that of Marc Augé, who came up with the concept of ‘non-places’. These …

Sep 8, 2023: TikTok's algorithm and its effect on migration Kukes, Albania is one of the poorest cities in Europe. Since the end of pandemic lockdowns, the city has seen a sharp rise in the number of Albanians, …

Sep 8, 2023: Walking 1,000 miles across Europe As I know from personal experience, walking a long way by yourself is hard work, both mentally and physically. As this article points out, doing so as …

Sep 7, 2023: Cooling down is hotting up As the world heats up, humans are going to need to cool down. The use of air conditioning already accounts for nearly 20% of electricity used in …

Sep 7, 2023: Indigenous knowledge, sustainable design, and long-term thinking This is a perfect example of the kind of sustainable design and long-term thinking we lose when we ignore indigenous knowledge. In Western Australia, …

Sep 7, 2023: Some advice for readers Less ‘rules’ than notes, this post by Ryan Holiday (himself a prolific author) is worth reading. I like the part where he turns the …

Sep 6, 2023: Generative AI, misinformation, and content authenticity As a philosopher, historian, and educator by training, and a technologist by profession, this initiative really hits my sweet spot. The image below …

Sep 6, 2023: On the need to measure productivity I’ve long said that no-one really knows what knowledge work looks like. It’s easy to see whether or not someone is digging a hole in the …

Sep 6, 2023: The declining relevance of Google search I can’t remember the last time I searched Google. It’s been around six years since I used DuckDuckGo as my main search engine. Which is …

Sep 5, 2023: An end to rabbit hole radicalization? A new peer-reviewed study suggests that YouTube’s efforts to stop people being radicalized through its recommendation algorithm have been …

Sep 5, 2023: Crypto is the biggest ponzi scheme of all time Ben McKenzie, an actor turned anti-crypto activist, argues in his new book Easy Money that while cryptocurrencies highlight legitimate flaws in the …

Sep 5, 2023: B Lane There’s a lot going on in this short post. It reminded me of a saying of Steve Jobs: “A players attract A players. B players attract C …

Sep 4, 2023: Money does not solve disasters like this The Burning Man Festival started in 1986 as a small event on a beach. It was originally an event for hippies, bohemians, and those who lived outside …

Sep 4, 2023: The Atlantis of the North Sea A couple of years ago, I started subscribing to Northern Earth magazine on the recommendation of Warren Ellis. It’s quirky and brilliant. The …

Sep 4, 2023: Reconstructing Tenochtitlan This is an absolutely incredible piece of work, showing the complexity and sophistication of the Aztec empire. My favourite part is the slider that …

Sep 2, 2023: Taking screenagers to the forest As a parent of a 16 year-old boy and 12 year-old girl I found this article fascinating. Written by Caleb Silverberg, now 17 years of age, it describes …

Sep 2, 2023: What we can learn about the climate emergency from the world's response to ozone depletion in the 1980s This article by Andrew Dessler discusses the near-miss catastrophe of ozone depletion. Anyone alive at the time can probably remember how the world …

Sep 2, 2023: Disaster capitalism, climate change, and agriculture Many readers will be aware of the extreme weather conditions in Vermont USA. This has led to a disastrous year for agriculture and financial struggles …

Sep 1, 2023: Eating the rich is optional, taxing them is mandatory The article in Insider discusses the findings of the 2022 World Inequality Report, which highlights extreme levels of wealth and income inequality …

Sep 1, 2023: How does doing what I need make time for everything else? I can’t remember whether someone said to me or I once read that we should manage our energy rather than our time, but it made a big difference …

Sep 1, 2023: Note taking tools and processes Casey Newton delves into the limitations of current note-taking apps like Obsidian, arguing that they are designed more for storing information than …

Aug 31, 2023: Poverty is expensive. Cash helps homeless people. Real-world studies such as this are important for busting myths about homeless people spending money recklessly compared to the rest of us. The widely …

Aug 31, 2023: Can you use CC licenses to restrict how people use copyrighted works in AI training? TL;DR seems to be that copyright isn’t going to prevent people data mining content to use for training AI models. However, there are protections …

Aug 31, 2023: It's all about the DMs I think it’s fascinating that this article uses a zeugma to explain what’s happened to places that we’ve called home online. In …

Aug 30, 2023: A philosophy of travel There’s a book by philosopher Alain de Botton called The Art of Travel. In it, he cites Seneca as bemoaning the fact that when you travel you …

Aug 30, 2023: Using semesters for goal-setting This article suggests using the academic calendar as a framework for setting and achieving personal goals, breaking life into “semesters” …

Aug 30, 2023: The uninhabitable earth This interactive tool maps in 3D where our planet will become unihabitable due to a combination of heat, water stress, sea level rise, and tropical …

Aug 25, 2023: The world's largest climate-positive artwork provides food and nesting spots via algorithm It’s interesting that this is being conceptualised as an ‘artwork’ rather than a technological intervention. Perhaps this is the way …

Aug 25, 2023: AI and bullshit jobs I had the pleasure of working with the large-brained Helen Beetham when I was at Jisc just over a decade ago. In this long-ish post, she covers quite …

Aug 25, 2023: We need to talk about AI porn Thought Shrapnel is a prude-free zone, especially as the porn industry tends to be a technological innovator. It’s important to say, though, …

Aug 24, 2023: Raising the average level of creativity using AI Like most infants, my daughter wanted to speak before she was able to. Unlike most infants, she was extremely frustrated that she couldn’t do …

Aug 24, 2023: CAPTCHA is an arms race we're losing against AI bots I saw a story that GitHub’s CAPTCHA had become ridiculously hard and multiple people weren’t able to solve it within the time limit. …

Aug 24, 2023: When it's getting too hot for plants to photosynthesize, you know we've got a problem I used to run a site called extinction.fyi which documented the climate emergency. This definitely would have been an article I would have featured on …

Aug 23, 2023: Structural insecurity This fantastic piece by Astra Taylor, whose book The Age of Insecurity is on my to-read list, is sadly behind a paywall. I managed to bypass it, which …

Aug 23, 2023: Emoji, we salute you 🫡 I remember going to a conference session about a decade ago when people were still on the fence about emoji and the presenter said that they were the …

Aug 23, 2023: Hacking the vagus nerve It looks like electric stimulation of the vagus nerve using something like a TENS machine could help with everything from obesity and depression to …

Aug 22, 2023: Reality and the templated life This article reviews a book entitled A Web of Our Own Making by Antón Barba-Kay which reminded me a lot of an issue of Audrey Watters' Second …

Aug 22, 2023: Temporarily Abled This blog post which reflects on Cindy Li’s pithy quotation that “we’re all just temporarily abled”. I’m recovering from …

Aug 22, 2023: The only way to outlaw encryption is to outlaw encryption An enjoyable take by The Register on the UK’s Online Safety Bill. I was particularly interested by the link to Veilid, a new secure peer-to-peer …

Aug 21, 2023: On 'Executive Function Theft' This post by Abigail Goben popped up in several places and is one of those that gives a name to someone most people will recognise. It’s an …

Aug 21, 2023: Why anxious people find it difficult to control their emotions This explains a lot. Basically, studies have found that a specific part of the brain behaves differently in anxious individuals, and this difference …

Aug 21, 2023: Jobs, AI, and human worth I’m sharing this article to make a comment about the framing for these kinds of things. The article is an extract from a book by David Runciman, …

Aug 18, 2023: Did people in the past look older for their age? I’m 42 but look much younger than my father did at his age. And I’m sure that he looked younger than my grandfather did at his age. This …

Aug 18, 2023: Ask culture vs guess culture I’ve seen this culture clash outlined before, although I wouldn’t necessarily use the labels ‘ask’ and ‘guess for the …

Aug 18, 2023: Life in 2050 Futurist Stowe Boyd imagines life in 2050, through three scenarios. I can’t help but think that ‘Collapseland’ (excerpted below) is …

Aug 17, 2023: Context is everything, especially with books When I was younger I slogged through some terrible books that, because they were deemed ‘classics’, I thought I should read. Thankfully, …

Aug 17, 2023: Using AI to aid with banning books is another level of dystopia I’m very much optimistic about the uses of AI tools such as LLMs to help with specific tasks. See the latest post on my personal blog, for …

Aug 16, 2023: Income Level 4 I’ve had reason to reflect on how easy my life is recently. Not only am I a straight, middle-aged, able-bodied white guy but, according to …

Aug 16, 2023: AI sports recruitment A few weeks ago, I watched part of the EA Sports FC 24 announcement video with my son. The CEO of Electronic Arts mentioned something that anyone …

Aug 16, 2023: Secret family recipes (on the side of containers) I love this 😂 In response to our call, 174 readers wrote in with stories of plagiarized family recipes. Hailing from New York to Nicaragua, from …

Aug 15, 2023: Quake II remaster brings online LAN gaming I can’t wait to play this. While I enjoy playing Doom Eternal by myself occasionally, LAN gaming the Quake II takes me back to being a teenager! …

Aug 15, 2023: Introducing Homo naledi Science is awesome. I love the way that we continue to rediscover and reinterpret what it means to be human based on archaeology and scientific …

Aug 15, 2023: Landmark ruling in climate trial I’ve only been there once, but Montana is an absolutely beautiful place. And much like other places that people call home, those that live there …

Aug 14, 2023: The tyranny of efficiency Coupled with this (cited) Slate article about what people did with their free time 20 years ago, it seems like Gen Z has gone beyond ‘touching …

Aug 14, 2023: Calendars as data layers I run my life by Google Calendar, so I found this post about different data layers including both past and future data points really interesting. As …

Aug 14, 2023: Your personal time management strategy sucks Too many pointless TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) in this blog post, but it’s redeemed by having a core message that human beings are not cogs in …

Aug 14, 2023: Giving advice online without mansplaining In the last few days I rediscovered this post from Another Angry Woman via someone linking to it. I don’t think I shared it at the time, but it …

Aug 14, 2023: Saying "I don't know" is a privilege Paul Graham is a smart guy. He’s a venture capitalist, and here he’s in conversation with Tyler Cowen, an economist. Both men are further …

Aug 14, 2023: Actions speak louder than words This article popped up on my feeds a couple of weeks ago and I recognised the organisation behind the website. Having listened to an excellent Art of …

Jul 12, 2023: Marginally Employed For various reasons I will explain elsewhere this post by Dan Sinker, which I read this morning, was particularly important to my life. Dan is …

May 24, 2023: Almhouses as a way forward for social housing While I’m aware of medieval almshouses, I didn’t know they were still a thing. It’s great that there’s more being built now …

May 24, 2023: Meredith Whittaker on AI doomerism This interview with Signal CEO Meredith Whittaker in Slate is so awesome. She brings the AI 'doomer' narrative back time and again both to …

May 24, 2023: Playing the right game Thanks to Laura for pointing me towards this post by Simone Stolzoff. There’s so much to unpack, which perhaps I’ll do in a separate post. …

May 19, 2023: Bad work Not just artists - we all go through life’s ups and downs, good periods and bad. Right now is the least tolerant time since I’ve been …

May 19, 2023: Digital wallets for verifiable credentials Purdue University had something like this almost a decade ago, but there’s even more call for this kind of thing now, post-pandemic and in a …

May 19, 2023: AI generated art aesthetic Yes, it’s “just typing prompts” but then drawing is “just making marks on paper”. Love this aesthetic. Source: An …

May 18, 2023: Bad coffee I love this essay, not because I necessarily agree with it, but because I agree with the vibe of it. It’s from 2019, so it must have come via my …

May 18, 2023: Ungrading the university experience There’s some discussion of students ‘gaming the system’ in this article about ungrading university courses, but nothing much about …

May 18, 2023: Reducing website carbon emissions by blocking ads Blocking advertising on the web is not only good for increasing the speed and privacy of your own web browsing, but also good for the planet. What is …

May 11, 2023: Switching to Arc It’s not often I’ll post tools here, but after a few days of using it, I’m sold on the Arc browser. My web browser history over the …

May 11, 2023: The sleight of hand of crypto Cory Doctorow is doing the rounds for his new book at the moment. But because he’s Cory, he’s not just phoning it in, or parroting the …

May 11, 2023: AI writing, thinking, and human laziness In a Twitter thread by Paul Graham that I came across via Hacker News he discusses how it’s always safe to bet on human laziness. Ergo, most …

May 9, 2023: Taxing land rather than labour I think I’ve always been somewhat of a Georgist, but perhaps didn’t know the name for it. The central tenet is that governments should be …

May 9, 2023: AI and work socialisation I've bolded what I consider to be the most important part of this article by danah boyd. It's a reflection on two different 'camps' when it comes to …

May 9, 2023: Attempting to quantify the unquantifiable This article, which I discovered via Sentiers, discusses the rise of ‘Quantitative Aesthetics’, or putting numbers on things you like to …

May 8, 2023: You can‘t ruminate and listen at the same time David Cain at Raptitude has a post which is somewhat bizarrely entitled 10 Things I Want to Communicate to the Human Species Before I Die. The first …

May 8, 2023: Arc browser is pretty nifty I’m not going to gush as I’ve had it installed mere hours, but this article persuaded me to actually use the invite code I’d got for …

May 8, 2023: Kanban > Scrum I spend most of my time coordinating with one other human being at work. After that, I’m coordinating with a maximum of three other people …

May 6, 2023: Just this cold beach that nourishes you I’ve come across so much great art and artists that are either directly or obliquely protesting the coronation, monarchy, and everything the …

May 6, 2023: On co-operative dynamics Abi Handley (second from the left in this photo) is an inspiration to me and others in the co-op movement. It was a little surprising, therefore, when …

May 6, 2023: Comportamento Geral As part of the #NotMyKing protests, I came across a printmaker and artist whose work I explored further. Highly discouraged by my wife from putting up …

May 3, 2023: The internet should be a place for connection, surprise, and delight As new platforms try to imitate existing ones, it becomes more challenging for users to find unique and diverse voices (and content). So it’s …

May 3, 2023: It's time to strictly regulate vaping My 16 year-old son estimates that about 70% of his year at school vapes. He might be exaggerating a bit, but there are clouds of vape fumes that …

May 3, 2023: NYC 🫶 renewable energy New York’s Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) demonstrates the strength of grassroots movements and the potential of publicly owned utilities to …

Apr 15, 2023: The 'value' of a degree I’ve got two things to say about this article in The Economist. One is to do with alternative credentialing, and the other is to do with my …

Apr 15, 2023: How to hold a 'preferendum' I like this idea a lot. The only caveat is that we could potentially be ruled by “the will of the people” in a way that degenerates into …

Apr 15, 2023: The problem with feminism is not that it has gone too far. It is that it has not gone far enough. I listened to a podcast episode earlier this week entitled What the World of Psychology Gets Wrong About Men. After a few minutes, I considered …

Apr 14, 2023: The future of AI will always be more than six months away A remarkably sober look at the need for regulation, transparency around how models are trained, and costs in the world of AI. It makes a really good …

Apr 14, 2023: An urgency to somehow bend the algorithms The album ‘Homework’ by Daft Punk came out in 1997 when I was 16 years old. That’s the same age as my son is now. I think it’s …

Apr 14, 2023: The web is fragmentary I love that this article channels both Tracey Ullman’s excellent book Close to the Machine and the weird allure of spreadsheets. I have a …

Apr 13, 2023: The patchwork progress of maturity This short post outlines in a pithy way how being an adult is so difficult: we mature in different aspects of our lives at different rates. In turn, …

Apr 13, 2023: Fitting LLMs to the phenomena The author of this post really needs to read Thomas Kuhn’s The Theory of Scientific Revolutions and some Marshall McLuhan (especially on …

Apr 13, 2023: Žižek on ChatGPT Slavoj Žižek is never the easiest academic to read, and this (translated) article about ChatGPT and AI is no different. However, if you skip the …

Apr 12, 2023: Relationships and therapy-speak I’m hugely supportive of people choosing therapies such as CBT and using language from NVC. However, it’s possible to go too far. My wife …

Apr 12, 2023: More on why billionaires should not exist This article frames ultra-rich people owning and using superyachts and private jets as ‘theft’ because it reduces the amount of time …

Apr 12, 2023: Negative UK growth Growth isn't everything. However, the fact that the word 'Brexit' does not appear anywhere in this article tells you all you need to know about (a) …

Apr 11, 2023: The laziness of helicopter parenting This article in The Cut by Kathryn Jezer-Morton is fantastic. There’s a tension in parenting between, on the one hand, giving your kids space to …

Apr 11, 2023: Spaced repetition, newsletters, and book-writing My son’s revising for exams at the moment. I used to be a teacher. One of the things that I’m trying to get across to him is the …

Apr 11, 2023: Curiosity, projectories, and AI I’ve read a lot of danah boyd’s work over the years, especially given how her research interests intersect with my work. In this long-ish …

Apr 10, 2023: Imaginary friends for adults At least in my circles, there’s been a lot of talk about parasocial relationships over the last decade or so. Usually, the discussion is …

Apr 10, 2023: The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason I always enjoy reading L.M. Sacasas' thoughts on the intersection of technology, society, and ethics. This article is no different. In addition to the …

Apr 10, 2023: Battles over human rights are not 'culture wars' The right of politics seems to always find ways to describe in neutral or pejorative terms (e.g. “woke”) things that threaten the (racist, …

Apr 9, 2023: The progress of AI art After subscribing to ChatGPT even before version 4 came out, I subscribed to Midjourney recently. There’s a lot of concern around these things, …

Apr 9, 2023: Purpose, positioning, proposition I’m just bookmarking this for next time I’m involved in a website redesign. Purpose, positioning, proposition. Right, got it. Ultimately, …

Apr 9, 2023: Lifehouses, not churches We used to go to church regularly. Then, as the kids grew older and sporting fixtures took over the weekend, we started going sporadically. Then, …

Mar 22, 2023: Hiatus I haven't posted here for a while and didn't send out a newsletter last month. While I've plenty of energy for other projects, I don't have much for …

Feb 28, 2023: There are just bodies, just us Two books to add to my reading list, courtesy of this excellent review and analysis Illness, I think, is a temporality — and not, as Susan Sontag …

Feb 28, 2023: Smoking as an analogy for unthinking phone use Even if, like me, you turn all but the most important notifications off, it’s easy to get used to there being something new on your phone when …

Feb 28, 2023: Living your best life I didn’t know this guy, but for some reason clicked through to this post which appeared in my LinkedIn stream. It’s oddly affecting to see …

Feb 8, 2023: Britain is screwed I followed a link from this article to some OECD data which, as shown in the chart below, the UK has even lower welfare payments that the US. The …

Feb 8, 2023: Synesthetic xkcd I’m a migraineur and there’s an overlap between that group of people and those who are synesthetes. But it turns out that my kids, who do …

Feb 8, 2023: Bad Bard Google is obviously a little freaked-out by tools such as ChatGPT and their potentially ability to destroy large sections of their search business. …

Feb 8, 2023: Buying when the market is selling I love this. Nintendo is increasing the salaries of its employees even though it intends to make less of a profit. Short of giving everyone ownership, …

Feb 7, 2023: The party's over for office-based work In-person working can be energising. But perhaps not every day, for most people? There’s a reason that lots of people have decided to continue …

Feb 7, 2023: Sad Ben Affleck I wouldn’t usually comment on celebrity culture, but I wanted to make three points here. First, are we sure that Ben Affleck isn’t …

Feb 7, 2023: One place to rule them all? Connor Oliver muses on the fact that, never mind the decline in ‘third places’ (or ‘third spaces’ as we’d probably call …

Jan 30, 2023: Covid and heart attacks Curiously, I discovered this via Hacker News, which linked to an news article about it that I couldn’t access in the UK. I guess they …

Jan 30, 2023: Hiring people without degrees This is my commentary on Bryan Alexander’s commentary of an Op-Ed in The New York Times. You’d think I’d be wholeheartedly in favour …

Jan 30, 2023: Reasons for not writing One of the reasons I continue with Thought Shrapnel is because it’s an easy way to ‘blog’ when I don’t feel like writing …

Jan 28, 2023: Should we "resist trying to make things better" when it comes to online misinformation? This is a provocative interview with Alex Stamos, “the former head of security at Facebook who now heads up the Stanford Internet Observatory, …

Jan 28, 2023: Woke, broke, and complicated I thought the comments about how young people’s desire for instant gratification was nothing particularly new. However, it is worth thinking …

Jan 28, 2023: The art of Battle Royale-style video games My kids like Fortnite and Warzone. The backstory to the genre, as told in this article is really interesting, along with the realisation that it fuses …

Jan 26, 2023: Cambrian governance models I think it’s fair to say that this article features ‘florid prose’ but the gist is that we should want society to be as complex as …

Jan 26, 2023: Tax and/or eat the rich I’m essentially just bookmarking this in case I think that I’ve misremembered the astounding difference in global wealth between the top …

Jan 26, 2023: Logging off from AI? An interesting and persuasive article from Lars Doucet who considers the ways in which AI spam might mean that people retreat from ‘open …

Jan 23, 2023: Retro audio player Adam Procter shared this with me recently, after witnessing the trials and tribulations of upgrading an iPod Classic. It’s pretty awesome, I …

Jan 23, 2023: Paying less attention to the attention economy This is a reply from John Udell, a very smart guy I’ve interacted with a few times over the years. He wisely doesn’t link to the post …

Jan 23, 2023: Async work isn't just cancelling meetings I thought this response by Becky Kane to Shopify publicly announcing that it’s cancelling 76,500 hours of meeting was not only a great example …

Jan 20, 2023: Sixteen hours on, eight hours off. I do like posts about people’s routines and, in fact, I contributed to a website which became a book of them! This particular one is by Warren …

Jan 20, 2023: Getting serious This is a great article by Katherine Boyle that talks about the lack of ‘seriousness’ in the USA, but also considers the wider …

Jan 20, 2023: On the economic pressures of Covid This is data from the USA, but the picture I should imagine might be true on a smaller scale in the UK. The difference, I guess, not being an …

Jan 12, 2023: Facial recognition and the morality police As this article points out, before 1979 removal of the traditional hijab was encouraged as part of Iran’s modernisation agenda. Once a theocracy …

Jan 12, 2023: U.S. Army Corps releases cat calendar Well, this is fun! More whimsy at work, please. Gigantic cats using hydropower dams as scratching posts are just some of the pawed pinups in a 2023 …

Jan 12, 2023: Getting your book published in 2023 This, via Warren Ellis, is a useful resource. I also like that its creator, Jane Friedman, has made it available to be downloaded, printed, and shared …

Jan 11, 2023: Good writing is good writing I’ve seen all of the Star Wars films at least once. I’m not big into sci-fi or fantasy, but on the recommendation of seemingly everyone …

Jan 11, 2023: Update your profile photo at least every three years I think this is good advice. I try to update mine regularly, although I did realise that last year I chose a photo that was five years old! I prefer …

Jan 11, 2023: Let's make private schools help pay for state schools I’m delighted to hear about this and I hope the vote passes. It’s a farce that place of privilege should gain tax breaks and have …

Jan 8, 2023: Chameleon e-ink car Most of the things at the annual CES tech show in Las Vegas every year are either pointless (at least to me) or in some way enabling of ever-greater …

Jan 8, 2023: Level 3 busy-ness Discovered via Kottke, this ‘seven levels of busy’ makes me realise that I don’t really want to be beyond Level 3 most weeks. Level …

Jan 8, 2023: Nick Cave's plans for 2023 The artist Nick Cave has a (newsletter? blog?) called The Red Hand Files in which he answers questions from his fans. Somebody pointed me towards a …

Jan 3, 2023: Walking around like Lionel Messi I didn’t get a chance to read this excellent article in The New Yorker about Lionel Messi until today. It was published the week leading up to …

Jan 3, 2023: Spreading joy in 2023 I love the idea behind this list of 52 acts of kindness. Realistically, number 14, 16, and 38 are the ones I’m likely to do (because I already …

Jan 3, 2023: Preparation is everything I used to have a quotation on the wall of my classroom when I was a teacher that has been attributed to various different people, but reads: …

Jan 3, 2023: This is 2023 We're back! Happy New Year! Over the break, this site moved to a managed hosting platform, which should mean less downtime 🎉

Dec 12, 2022: That was 2022 Inspired by Warren Ellis closing his LTD site until 2023, this is a notification that Thought Shrapnel is done for the year! I may send out a 'best …

Dec 3, 2022: 'Nightfall' meteorite contains new and unusual minerals OK, so it’s not Vibranium, but discovering potentially three new minerals in a meteorite found in Somalia is pretty exciting! I wonder what new …

Dec 2, 2022: No benefits to post-Brexit deregulation Coupled with the pandemic and the energy crisis, Brexit is absolutely destroying the UK at the moment. If you haven’t watched The Brexit Effect …

Dec 2, 2022: Study shows no link between age at getting first smartphone and mental health issues Where we live is unusual for the UK: we have first, middle, and high schools. The knock-on effect of this in the 21st century is that kids aged nine …

Dec 2, 2022: Four forces that constrain our actions ‘Pathetic Dot’ is not a great name for a theory, and the diagram on the Wikipedia page isn’t the best, but Christina Bowen reminded …

Nov 29, 2022: French views of Brexit It’s always interesting reading articles from foreign newspapers about the state of the UK. I wish it were true that conversations about Brexit …

Nov 29, 2022: Who wants to live forever? I definitely feel the middle-aged white guy urge to focus on health, nutrition, etc. But I just felt really sorry when I watched the start of a video …

Nov 29, 2022: Japanese miniature dioramas I love these so much. Miniature Calendar is an incredible ongoing project by Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka, that features beautiful miniature …

Nov 29, 2022: (Partially) visualising the Fediverse About a decade ago, it was possible to visualise your LinkedIn network. I really liked it, especially as I had three distinct groups of connections …

Nov 28, 2022: Collectively-owned Fediverse instances I’m essentially bookmarking this publicly as it’s a useful reference for Fediverse instances (all currently running Mastodon!) which are …

Nov 28, 2022: Prestige and associational value This is 100% true and one of the reasons that I think that Open Badges and Verifiable Credentials are so awesome. Associational value is built-in for …

Nov 23, 2022: Richard Hammond's near-death experience Richard Hammond, co-presenter of the original Top Gear and The Grand Tour reflects on his near-death experience. Worth a watch. …

Nov 21, 2022: Some tips for adding winter cheer There are some excellent suggestions in this list of 53 things that can give you a lift over the winter months. I’ve highlighted three of my …

Nov 21, 2022: Convivial social networking Adam Greenfield composed a thread this morning on Mastodon in which he referenced Ivan Illich’s call for conviviality. This was also referenced …

Nov 11, 2022: Mourning what we've lost I found this an eloquent explanation of emotions and feelings I've experienced over the last couple of weeks as the Fediverse has been 'invaded' by …

Nov 11, 2022: Second-order effects of widespread AI Sometimes ‘Ask HN’ threads on Hacker News are inane or full of people just wanting to show off their technical knowledge. Occasionally, …

Nov 10, 2022: Hyperbolic discounting applied to habit-formation We live near the middle of town, a five minute walk to the leisure centre — and less than that to get to the shops. As a result, we don’t use …

Nov 10, 2022: The (surprising) oldest full sentence in the Canaanite language in Israel Apparently this comb has an inscription on it which reads “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” It was made from an …

Nov 10, 2022: Rituals for moving jobs when working from home Terence Eden reflects on changing jobs when working from home and how… weird it can be. While I’ve been based from two different …

Nov 10, 2022: Decentralisation begins at decentring yourself Aral Balkan, who has 22,000 followers on the Fediverse and who recently had a birthday, has written about the influx of people from Twitter. As …

Nov 10, 2022: Organisations are not just joining the Fediverse, they're setting up their own instances It’s great to see that Raspberry Pi Ltd. and other organisations are setting up their own servers. Not only does it enable them to verify …

Oct 31, 2022: A cluttered desk is a sign of genius Perhaps it's because I'm not a designer like the author of this post, but organising your desk space like this leaves me cold. My space looks like …

Oct 29, 2022: Decentralising online learning A “technical presentation that is structured and designed for a non-technical audience” by Stephen Downes. With the Twitter lifeboats …

Oct 29, 2022: Presenteeism, overwork, and being your own boss I spend a lot of time on the side of football pitches and basketball courts watching my kids playing sports. As a result, I talk to parents and …

Oct 29, 2022: Hyperfinancialisation has taken over UK politics I’m reading This Could Be Our Future by (Kickstarter co-founder) Yancey Strickler at the moment. It rails against hyperfinancialisation and then …

Oct 29, 2022: An anarchist take on the Twitter acquisition I’m quoting this liberally, as it’s excellent. I was on Twitter from almost when it began in January 2007 through to late 2021 and the …

Oct 29, 2022: Twitter the disaster clown car company I didn’t forsee Elon Musk buying Twitter when I deactivated my verified account about a year ago. But it was already an algorithmic hellscape. …

Oct 25, 2022: AI is coming for middle management It’s hard not to agree with this. Things may play out a little different in the EU, but in the USA and UK I can foresee the middle classes …

Oct 25, 2022: Being 'quietly fired' at work I’ll not name the employer, and this wasn’t recent, but I’ve been ‘quietly fired’ from a job before. I never really knew …

Oct 25, 2022: Jacobin reviews the creator of Ethereum's new book This is written in typical bombastic Jacobin style, and I’ve yet to read Vitalik Buterin’s book, but I have to say I can’t disagree …

Oct 25, 2022: What does work look like? (redux) If you’re digging a hole or otherwise doing manual work, it’s obvious when you’re working and when you’re not. The same is …

Oct 25, 2022: It's time to move on from Twitter It’s almost a year now that I finally deactivated my Twitter account with no intention of going back to it. Like Ben Werdmuller in this article, …

Sep 30, 2022: Bridging the divide Sure, it’s an advert for beer, but it’s also a brilliant example of how you can bring people together IRL to get to know one another …

Sep 30, 2022: AI everywhere in education Jon Dron makes a good point here that we need to put the humanity back into education, otherwise we’re going to have AI everywhere and a …

Sep 30, 2022: Apple Watch Ultra vs The Scottish Highlands Happy as I am with my Garmin Venu 2s, if I didn’t need to also buy an iPhone to use one, I probably already would have bought an Apple Watch …

Sep 30, 2022: Our range of legible emotions is being constricted A typically thought-provoking piece by L. M. Sacasas which, ironically, I’ve got plenty of time to read, process, and react to after getting up …

Sep 30, 2022: Censorship and the porn tech stack They say that technical innovation often comes from the porn industry, but the same is true of new forms of censorship. For those who don’t know or …

Sep 30, 2022: Google Stadia as pandemic fever dream I think the comment at the end of this article about people being wary of Stadia because Google tends to shut down services is spot-on. I really liked …

Sep 30, 2022: Brexit Britain = hungry kids As a former teacher, I almost cried reading this. Can someone with some authority and leadership stand up and say not only was Brexit a terrible idea, …

Sep 28, 2022: Your brain rewires itself after age 40 I turn 42 later this year, and this would explain a lot. Not in terms of me being unable to be super-efficient and productive, but just in terms of …

Sep 28, 2022: Gaming on the go (or anywhere) I finally caved and bought a Steam Deck this week. I’ve loads of Steam games that I’ve collected over the years and some of them are …

Sep 28, 2022: You don't have to be the best to be valuable A timely reminder via Emma Cragg’s latest newsletter that sharing our own perspective is enough. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the …

Sep 28, 2022: Teaching kids about anonymity This website, riskyby.design, is a project of the 5Rights Foundation. It does a good job of talking about the benefits and drawbacks of anonymity in a …

Sep 28, 2022: Sharing can be hard (online) Granular permissions between private and public spaces is a hard problem to solve, as this blog post shows. A few years ago, Apple acquired Color …

Sep 27, 2022: Hierarchy is bad for business I think this is a great post for people who realise that there might be something wrong with the hierarchy-by-default way we run organisations and …

Sep 24, 2022: 'Even over' statements Aaron Hirtenstein mentioned this post to me earlier in the week, thinking that it might be useful for a collaborative project on which we’re …

Sep 24, 2022: The unintended consequences of photography Some good points in this photo essay, including photography leading to greater compassion as well as political influence. Photographs were more than …

Sep 24, 2022: The 2022 Drone Photo Awards I had a conversation with my neighbour this week about drones. They were pointing out how invasive they can be, while I was talking about the amazing …

Sep 18, 2022: Forbes on federation This article uses a common format in Forbes where we follow an individual who just happens to have a product to sell. The story is lightly researched, …

Sep 18, 2022: Forbes on federation This article uses a common format in Forbes where we follow an individual who just happens to have a product to sell. The story is lightly researched, …

Sep 18, 2022: A philosophical approach to performative language I don’t know anything about Ariel Pontes, the author of this article, other than seeing that they’re a member of the Effective Altruism …

Sep 18, 2022: A philosophical approach to performative language I don’t know anything about Ariel Pontes, the author of this article, other than seeing that they’re a member of the Effective Altruism …

Sep 18, 2022: Technological Liturgies A typically thoughtful article from L. M. Sacasas in which they “explore a somewhat eccentric frame by which to consider how we relate to our …

Sep 18, 2022: Technological Liturgies A typically thoughtful article from L. M. Sacasas in which they “explore a somewhat eccentric frame by which to consider how we relate to our …

Sep 17, 2022: Organisational design: the floor is lava Coda Hale was, until last year, Principal Engineer at MailChimp. As a result, they seamless mix in words and equations in this article that betray an …

Sep 17, 2022: Organisational design: the floor is lava Coda Hale was, until last year, Principal Engineer at MailChimp. As a result, they seamless mix in words and equations in this article that betray an …

Sep 17, 2022: Three components of the public sphere My views on monarchy are, well, that there shouldn’t be one in my country, nor should there be any in the world. This post by Ethan Zuckerman …

Sep 17, 2022: Three components of the public sphere My views on monarchy are, well, that there shouldn’t be one in my country, nor should there be any in the world. This post by Ethan Zuckerman …

Sep 17, 2022: What is ransom capitalism? Gareth Fearn argues, and I absolutely agree, that governments are so captured by neoliberal thinking that some types of companies or sectors are seen …

Sep 17, 2022: What is ransom capitalism? Gareth Fearn argues, and I absolutely agree, that governments are so captured by neoliberal thinking that some types of companies or sectors are seen …

Sep 16, 2022: Professional try-hards I love this article about, variously, work-life balance, the future of work, quiet quitting, and the ridiculousness of Silicon Valley culture. To be …

Sep 16, 2022: Professional try-hards I love this article about, variously, work-life balance, the future of work, quiet quitting, and the ridiculousness of Silicon Valley culture. To be …

Sep 16, 2022: Every complex problem has a solution which is simple, direct, plausible — and wrong This is a great article by Michał Woźniak (@rysiek) which cogently argues that the problem with misinformation and disinformation does not come …

Sep 16, 2022: Every complex problem has a solution which is simple, direct, plausible — and wrong This is a great article by Michał Woźniak (@rysiek) which cogently argues that the problem with misinformation and disinformation does not come …

Sep 16, 2022: WFH from anywhere Winter in the UK isn’t much fun, so if we didn’t have kids I would absolutely be working from a different country for part of it. Why not? …

Sep 9, 2022: Paying it forward It’s worth clicking through to the Axios summary of some recent research showing that people underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness. …

Sep 9, 2022: CDNs are not phone books The notorious website kiwi farms is no longer being protected by Cloudflare’s CDN (Content Delivery Network). This means that it is itself …

Sep 9, 2022: Ad-free urban spaces I've never understood why we allow so much advertising in our lives. Thankfully, I live in a small town without that much of it, but it's always a …

Sep 9, 2022: Ad-free urban spaces I've never understood why we allow so much advertising in our lives. Thankfully, I live in a small town without that much of it, but it's always a …

Sep 2, 2022: You should only ever be busy on purpose If you’re consistently over-stretched, you’re doing it wrong. And if you’re not doing it wrong, your organisation is. If you are …

Sep 2, 2022: The art of a cup of tea There’s something about having a cup of tea that’s very different to having a cup of coffee. They’re both a means to an end, but the …

Sep 2, 2022: Against 'talkocracy' Research. Build. Test. Repeat. Not endless talking and pontification. Everywhere I look, I see the rise of talkocracy — others have called it the …

Sep 1, 2022: Cultivating (your) serendipity (surface) I used to have a quotation on the wall as a History teacher that said “opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in …

Sep 1, 2022: Life product tiers A bit of fun from xkcd, but with some underlying truth in terms of how people experience life almost as if it were different product tiers. Source: …

Sep 1, 2022: AI art is, well, still art Art is a social thing. So it does not surprise me at all that people are upset that an AI-generated artwork won a competition. However, after spending …

Aug 29, 2022: Learning through pathways This is an interesting post that uses Google Maps as a metaphor for learning. In other words, get from where you are, to where you need to be, using …

Aug 29, 2022: Personal, portable heating solutions I read this article when it was published on Low-tech Magazine earlier this year. Given the cost of living crisis is being exacerbated by gas prices …

Aug 29, 2022: Potentially the cheapest way of generating clean energy? I’m sharing this as an potentially-optimistic vision of another way of creating a lot of energy for the world. As the article states, this …

Aug 27, 2022: Population ethics Will MacAskill is an Oxford philosopher. He’s an influential member of the Effective Altruism movement and has a view of the world he calls …

Aug 27, 2022: Conversational affordances I’m one of those people who has to try hard not to over-analyse everything. Therapy has helped a bit, but I still can’t help reflecting on …

Aug 27, 2022: Lessin's five steps and the coming AI apocalypse I’m not really on any of the big centralised social networks any more, but I’m interested in the effect they have on society. Apparently …

Aug 26, 2022: Dealing with mental pain This article is from a series that Arthur C. Brooks has in The Atlantic entitled ‘How to Build a Life’. He includes four bits of advice …

Aug 26, 2022: The UK is in crisis I’m writing this outside a coffee shop in Tynemouth. The place is absolutely heaving on a sunny summer’s day, but it’s takeaway only …

Aug 26, 2022: The UK is in crisis I’m writing this outside a coffee shop in Tynemouth. The place is absolutely heaving on a sunny summer’s day, but it’s takeaway only …

Aug 26, 2022: Development without critique Hypothes.is is an annotation service. I can’t remember who recommended I follow his annotations, but Chris Aldrich’s gleanings are worth …

Aug 9, 2022: Working from home I don’t know anything about the author of this post other than what he’s put on his about page. He doesn’t look very old, and …

Aug 9, 2022: Eddie Jones on how privately educated rugby players 'lack resolve' It’s no secret that I believe that private schools shouldn’t exist. I’ve explained why so many times over the years I almost …

Aug 9, 2022: Mathematical models of evolution I have no idea if this has since been debunked, but it’s fascinating to me. Biologist and mathematician D’Arcy Thompson advanced a strange new …

Aug 9, 2022: Ethical (open) source (licenses) As I’ve said recently elsewhere, I don’t think technical projects do a good enough job to proactively defensively license their outputs. …

Aug 9, 2022: Ethical (open) source (licenses) As I’ve said recently elsewhere, I don’t think technical projects do a good enough job to proactively defensively license their outputs. …

Aug 9, 2022: Being busy isn't a badge of honour If you think I’m sharing this image because my name is Doug and I find the accompanying image amusing then you’d be 100% correct. I used …

Aug 9, 2022: Being busy isn't a badge of honour If you think I’m sharing this image because my name is Doug and I find the accompanying image amusing then you’d be 100% correct. I used …

Aug 4, 2022: Meta may really be exiting Europe as soon as this year Well, we can but hope. The backlash from Instagram-obsessed people would be too much for politicians to bear, however… Meta has—as it …

Aug 3, 2022: The importance of being yourself Any article that quotes the Stoic philosopher Epictetus and talks about the importance of being yourself is a winner. When we are ourselves, we have …

Aug 3, 2022: Generating a logo using an AI drawing model A couple of weeks ago, I was experimenting with Midjourney and speculating about machine creativity. This post is interesting if you haven’t …

Jul 30, 2022: Algorithmic Anxiety I listened to a great episode of CBC’s Spark podcast with the excellent Nora Young on what ownership will look like in 2050. One of the …

Jul 30, 2022: Naming heatwaves I’m hoping other countries follow suit and bring some attention to heatwaves as human-caused extreme weather events. The world's first named …

Jul 30, 2022: Doomed to live in a Sisyphean purgatory between insatiable desires and limited means I’m reading The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. It’s an eye-opening book in many ways, …

Jul 25, 2022: Finish what you start This article uses the analogy of a burger chef to show how software teams can be more productive by focusing on a small number of features at a time. …

Jul 25, 2022: You don't need a personal trainer On Saturday, my Garmin smartwatch told me that my ‘fitness age’ is now 33.5. This is eight years younger than my chronological age, and …

Jul 25, 2022: Foregrounding externalities I found this article via the excellent Sentiers, which I support as a member. It discusses the importance of making visible externalities — a term …

Jul 23, 2022: Slack emboldens the meek This is a useful article which focuses on the lack of internal Codes of Conduct and community managers within organisations. Performativity in the …

Jul 22, 2022: Discourses of Climate Delay I came across this and am sharing it to remind myself of all of the ways that people try to avoid the very pressing problem of the climate emergency. …

Jul 22, 2022: On GitHub Achievements GitHub is owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft was one of the earlier adopters of the Open Badges standard. So when I saw this announcement about GitHub …

Jul 22, 2022: Teaching about dead white guys in an age of social media I’m pleased that I completed my formal education and moved out of teaching before social media transformed the world. In this article, Marie …

Jul 19, 2022: Social-first searching I don’t see this as such a weird thing, especially when it comes to food. For example, my wife follows lots of local places on Instagram and …

Jul 19, 2022: Chromebooks banned in Danish schools Slowly, and then all at once is how a ‘splinternet’ happens. I’m seeing more and more cases of the EU standing up to so-called Big …

Jul 19, 2022: Productivity is the enemy of creativity I like the metaphor used in this post of being light a lightbulb: fully one, or off. In fact, not only have I organised my working life to be like …

Jul 15, 2022: Spring '83 John Johnston put me onto this via a comment on my personal blog. Spring ‘83 is a protocol developed by Robin Sloan, multi-talented developer, …

Jul 15, 2022: No more low-speed fart sounds for Teslas Here in the UK, I’ve only ever heard electric vehicles make that high-pitched robotic hum at low speeds. However, it seems there was a proposal …

Jul 15, 2022: Unintended consequences of smart thermostats It must have been about five years ago when we bought a Nest thermostat. Before that point, the temperature of our house would be a continuous …

Jul 13, 2022: (Machine) Creativity It is genuinely amazing what you can create these days with an AI model by simply inputting a few words of natural language. Craiyon (formerly DALL·E …

Jul 12, 2022: Personal Publishing Principles  I really like the approach of coming up with your ‘personal publishing principles’ for your website, blog, and newsletter. This is CJ …

Jul 12, 2022: The future is the least renewable resource Carlos Alvarez Pereira, vice president of the Club of Rome is interviewed by WIRED about a book called The Limits to Growth, published in 1972. …

Jul 12, 2022: Amazon as a dumb pipe I like this idea from Cory Doctorow, but monopolies tend to like exploiting their monopoly position. Still, it might be a way for Amazon to get around …

Jul 9, 2022: Ian Bogost on hybrid work I always enjoy Ian Bogost’s articles for The Atlantic as they’re thought-provoking. In this one, he talks about how ‘hybrid …

Jul 8, 2022: Steaming open the institutional creases This is a heart-rending article by Maria Farrell, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She details her experiences for Long Covid suffers, and …

Jul 8, 2022: Steaming open the institutional creases This is a heart-rending article by Maria Farrell, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She details her experiences for Long Covid suffers, and …

Jul 8, 2022: Life cannot be organised Rebecca Toh is not only a fantastic photographer, but also has a wonderful turn of phrase. In a way writing is a desperate attempt at organising what …

Jul 8, 2022: Life cannot be organised Rebecca Toh is not only a fantastic photographer, but also has a wonderful turn of phrase. In a way writing is a desperate attempt at organising what …

Jul 7, 2022: This bus ain't growing wings Cory Doctorow: activist, technologist, sci-fi writer and all-round awesome human being has written a powerful article for Locus magazine. He likens …

Jul 5, 2022: The Digital Dark Ages The author of this article helps out with computer museums around the world. He talks about how its not just nostalgia which fuels them, but learning …

Jul 5, 2022: Criticism vs praise Like most people, it would seem, I’m sensitive to criticism. Not just that, but even the absence of praise can be problematic. It’s …

Jul 5, 2022: Is our society structured in a way which encourages people to make less than the greatest contribution they could? Colin Percival is the founder of Tarsnap which is a somewhat-niche cryptographically-secure backup solution. In this post, he replies to a comment he …

Jun 29, 2022: The future has been foreclosed and the present is intolerable This is an insightful and enjoyable article about something which I’ve noticed even at my level of gaming. For example, when quickly explaining …

Jun 29, 2022: Recalling generative and liberating uses of technology I found myself using the phrase “the night is darkest before dawn” today. This post from Anne-Marie Scott is certainly an example of that, …

Jun 29, 2022: The corrosive nature of captalism I used to think there was no chance of the current system of capital-based society ending within my lifetime. But now? I’m not so sure. I see …

Jun 27, 2022: Frozen baby woolly mammoth discovered in Yukon gold fields Amazing. Look at how perfectly this creature was preserved in the permafrost! I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing as the …

Jun 27, 2022: Crypto clowns If you’re at the top of the Ponzi scheme pyramid, you have a vested interest in keeping it going… Not coincidentally, the companies …

Jun 27, 2022: Counting the cost of Brexit Another article about Brexit, after one last week. I think Brexit was a form of economic suicide, but over the weekend I’ve been thinking about …

Jun 27, 2022: Making adulthood more desirable I definitely feel this at the moment. As a parent, your kids mostly follow what you do rather than what you say, which confers quite a bit of a …

Jun 24, 2022: Losing followers, making friends There’s a lot going on in this article, which I’ve taken plenty of quotations from below. It’s worth taking some time over, …

Jun 24, 2022: The omnishambles of Brexit The UK is a pretty bad place to live at the moment. Except for the US, and well a lot of other places. I guess what I’m saying is that things …

Jun 24, 2022: Moonshine-enabling cow shoes The Sunday Surfers (a name my group of friends give to ourselves when playing PlayStation) came across an abandoned moonshine still in the game Red …

Jun 22, 2022: GNOME <3 I’m a big fan of GNOME as well. Although configurability is important, starting from a basis of opinionated design leads to better results, I …

Jun 22, 2022: Worker-owned co-op federation Sion Whellens helped us set up WAO six years ago, and he’s quoted in this piece about a new worker co-op federation. There’s been a …

Jun 22, 2022: Psycho-Geography  This is incredible. I want to see it! Each concrete slab in the Cretto di Burri measures between ten and twenty meters on each side and stands at …

Jun 21, 2022: Abandoned places We didn’t have time to go and see the bay with lots of abandoned hotels near Dubrovnik when we were in Croatia recently. But there’s …

Jun 21, 2022: One sentence per line This is spectacularly simple advice from Derek Sivers. I immediately used the approach after reading this article for a script I was writing for a …

Jun 21, 2022: Travelling light There’s some good tips about travelling light and the kind of gear to buy, which trade-offs, to make, etc. in this guide. Interestingly, …

Jun 19, 2022: The internet is broken because the internet is a business I ended up cancelling my Verso books subscription because I was overwhelmed with the number of amazing books coming out every month. This looks like …

Jun 19, 2022: The ultimate act of self-denial This is absolutely wild. Scattered throughout northern Japan are over two dozen mummified Japanese monks known as sokushinbutsu. Followers of …

Jun 19, 2022: Muting the American internet This is a humorous article, but one with a point. [W]e need a way to mute America. Why? Because America has no chill. America is exhausting. America …

Jun 19, 2022: Muting the American internet This is a humorous article, but one with a point. [W]e need a way to mute America. Why? Because America has no chill. America is exhausting. America …

Jun 18, 2022: Morality, responsibility, and (online) information This is a useful article in terms of thinking about the problems we have around misinformation online. Yes, we have a responsibility to be informed …

Jun 18, 2022: Living forever The interesting thing about this article is the predictions from forecasters on the website Metaculus. There’s wisdom in crowds, and …

Jun 18, 2022: Who knew tapping a checkbox could be so satisfying? I love it when people who are great at what they do, and who sweat the details, share their processes. It’s well worth looking at the lengths …

Jun 17, 2022: Subscriber count as power level against algorithmic demons I’ve done a lot of writing for work this week and needed to hear some of the things in this post by Justin Murphy. Great stuff. Mustering the …

Jun 17, 2022: Artificial metrics are flying by instrument We had a conversation earlier this week about how we’re going to measure the progress of some community work we’re doing. In the end, we …

Jun 17, 2022: Audrey Watters says goodbye to EdTech Sadly, EdTech, the field that I used to feel part of, is never going to change, so this post from Audrey Watters was sadly inevitable. Anything that …

Jun 13, 2022: Getting out of a rut I didn’t send out a Thought Shrapnel newsletter at the end of May as I’d hardly posted here during the month. There was no particular …

Jun 13, 2022: Yes, parenting matters Parenting is the hardest job I have ever had. It never stops, and I seldom think I’m doing a good job at it. That’s why it can be …

Jun 13, 2022: EaaS : Employee as a Service This is humorous, but also we should remind ourselves that bosses need workers, but workers don't need bosses 🤘 Source: EaaS : ProgrammerHumor

Jun 10, 2022: 'Slack' and work I’m composing this having done about 19 paid hours of work this week. I’ve also contributed to Open Source projects, written here, done …

Jun 9, 2022: Art gallery mode I love this post by David Cain so much. He talks about how every weekend during the summer he goes on a bike ride. Using an app to randomise his …

Jun 9, 2022: The new digital divide   We’re already at the stage where most people in the developed world have a device that can access the internet in their pocket. Many families …

Jun 9, 2022: Optimising for feelings, ceding control to the individual It would be easy to dismiss this as the musings of a small company before they get to scale. However, what I like about it is that the three things …

Jun 8, 2022: Good ideas become colonised and domesticated I’ve got this thought about how every good idea becomes colonised and domesticated. While domestication can be a good thing, because it …

Jun 7, 2022: Testing a 4-day work week I already work what most people would call ‘part-time’, doing no more than 25 paid hours of work per week, on average. I’m glad that …

Jun 7, 2022: Coffee and its impact on fitness It’s good to read this, which is a side product of the excellent Just One Thing podcast. I currently drink a couple of cups of coffee per …

Jun 7, 2022: Billable hours and the psychology of work I have to say that tracking my time is the worst thing about consulting rather than being employed. I don’t feel the urge to work at all hours …

Jun 6, 2022: Signalling that you're AFK in a world where you can never really be AFK *AFK = ‘Away From Keyboard’ I used AIM and MSN Messenger as a teenager, from around 1996 to about 2001. It was great, and I remember …

Jun 6, 2022: The mesmerising murmurations of Europe’s starlings Incredible. I highly recommend clicking through to watch the videos! How the birds move together in such close proximity, as though one organism, is …

Jun 6, 2022: WIRED magazine predicts the 21st century... in 1997 This is from WIRED magazine in 1997 where authors Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden suggest ten scenarios that could play out in the 21st century. On …

Jun 5, 2022: Updating our worldviews I’m reading a book which deals with the Protestant Reformation at the moment. I think for anyone who knows some history, there have been times …

Jun 5, 2022: Developing your own style (and archive) I like the way that Warren Ellis works out loud. I’ve read some great books because of this, and learned a lot about developing your own style. …

Jun 5, 2022: Should governments track supermarket purchases? We booked a holiday to France this week and used Tesco vouchers to pay for the Eurotunnel crossing. These Tesco vouchers are a kind of payment-in-kind …

Jun 5, 2022: Should governments track supermarket purchases? We booked a holiday to France this week and used Tesco vouchers to pay for the Eurotunnel crossing. These Tesco vouchers are a kind of payment-in-kind …

Jun 4, 2022: Distro-hopping like a cynic My own Linux journey has gone from Red Hat Linux, to Ubuntu, to Pop!_OS. However, today I’ve been messing about with Fedora Silverblue. …

Jun 4, 2022: Distro-hopping like a cynic My own Linux journey has gone from Red Hat Linux, to Ubuntu, to Pop!_OS. However, today I’ve been messing about with Fedora Silverblue. …

Jun 4, 2022: #AbolishTheMonarchy It’s Jubilee weekend in the UK, not that I’m celebrating. Someone re-shared this classic article in The Irish Times from last year which …

Jun 4, 2022: Epic UK walking trails After walking Hadrian’s Wall (84 miles, 72 hours) a couple of months ago, I’m now seriously considering walking The Pennine Way (268 …

Jun 4, 2022: Epic UK walking trails After walking Hadrian’s Wall (84 miles, 72 hours) a couple of months ago, I’m now seriously considering walking The Pennine Way (268 …

May 4, 2022: Space of possibilities In Andrew Curry’s latest missive, his ‘two things’ are Climate and Business. The diagram below is actually from the latter section, …

May 3, 2022: Popular culture has become an endless parade of sequels Once you start recognising colour schemes and sound effects, every new film ends up looking and sounding the same. Yes, I’m getting old, but as …

Apr 27, 2022: The Climate Game The Financial Times has a free-to-play game where the aim is to try and keep global warming to only 1.5°C by the year 2100. There are different things …

Apr 27, 2022: 14 Common Features of Fascism This is from six years ago but it’s worth revisiting as I don’t think it’s too much of a push to see these elements at play in the …

Apr 27, 2022: Are we really calling it #Elongate? There’s been a noticeable influx of people to the Fediverse over the last few days due to Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. What I find …

Apr 26, 2022: Dedicated portable digital media players and central listening devices I listen to music. A lot. In fact, I’m listening while I write this (Busker Flow by Kofi Stone). This absolutely rinses my phone battery unless …

Apr 25, 2022: Highlights from 'The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is' On my flight back from Croatia at the weekend, I managed to read the entirety of The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, A Philosophy, A …

Apr 21, 2022: The economics of blockchain-based gaming don't add up Blake Robbins, who used to work on game design at Roblox, has written an in-depth post on why blockchain-based gaming will never take off. TL;DR: not …

Apr 21, 2022: Literally shitposting I saw this mentioned in passing and thought it was unusual enough to share here. There's a metaphor in there somewhere... In July 1184 Henry VI, King …

Apr 20, 2022: Assume that your devices are compromised I was in Catalonia in 2017 during the independence referendum. The way that people were treated when trying to exercise democratic power I still …

Apr 20, 2022: What technology means in late capitalism Anyone familiar with Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle will appreciate this article by Jonathan Crary, author of the short but impressive 24/7 …

Apr 19, 2022: Using DICE instead of RA(S)CI I like what the RACI responsibility assignment matrix tries to do in clarifying roles and responsibilities. In practice, I tend to favour RASCI which …

Apr 14, 2022: The value of a liberal education I have degrees in Philosophy, History, and Education. As such, I have received what most would call a ‘liberal education’. These days, …

Apr 14, 2022: 'Live Forever' mode My first response to this article was ‘why?’ My second was realising that this in no way is ‘living forever’. Utterly …

Apr 14, 2022: The rise of first-party online tracking In a startling example of the Matthew effect of accumulated advantage, the incumbent advertising giants are actually being strengthened by legislation …

Apr 13, 2022: It's time to accept that centralised social media won't change A great blog post by Chris Trottier about actually doing something about the problems with centralised social media, by refusing to be a part of it …

Apr 13, 2022: The triple-peak work day is a worrying trend When I first stepped into the world of consulting, I spent around 18 months working with a large organisation. The person I reported to in the …

Apr 13, 2022: My highlights from 'Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead' This morning, I finished reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the translated name of Olga Tokarczuk’s 2009 novel, published a …

Apr 12, 2022: Mainstream social media is a behaviour-modification system A couple of years ago I would have said that this analogy of an atom bomb being exploded over our information ecosystem is a bit extreme. Not now. …

Apr 12, 2022: Certain surroundings seem to dispel enchantment, and others encourage it I really liked this article by Simon Sarris about what we grasp for versus what we get in domestic settings. I’m definitely receptive to the …

Apr 12, 2022: Are we in a post-album era for music? One of the downsides of getting older is that things you took to be sacred all of a sudden seem to be obsolete. For example, music albums, which have …

Apr 11, 2022: Warren Ellis' work day routine I think the realisation that it’s impossible to ‘keep up’ (whatever that means) with even a subset of an industry these days may be …

Apr 11, 2022: Get off Twitter if you want to see your friends' posts Tyler Freeman wrote a script to analyse the tweets he’s shown in his algorithmic Twitter timeline. 90% of his friends (i.e. the people he chose …

Apr 11, 2022: Virtual Photographer Of The Year awards I love Red Dead Redemption 2, and it’s great that the stunning vistas and scenery in the game is recognised. During London Games Festival, a …

Mar 25, 2022: The future of the web, according to Mozilla There’s nothing particularly wrong with this document. It’s just not very exciting. Maybe that’s OK. Mozilla's mission is to ensure …

Mar 25, 2022: Historic aerial photos of England It's annoying they can't be downloaded, but fun to see historic aerial photos of my home town! You can explore over 400,000 digitised photos taken …

Mar 25, 2022: How to be a darknet drug lord Wow, who knew how difficult it was to be a criminal? Found via HN. You're an aspiring drug kingpin. Go out and pay cash for another computer. It …

Mar 24, 2022: British monarchs helped fund, and profited from, the slave trade The monarchy wasn’t a force for good during the age of colonialism/empire, nor is it a force for good now. In 1660, the Royal African Company …

Mar 24, 2022: Live map of electricity production highlights carbon criminals This live map of electricity production and consumption is really interesting, on a number of levels. First, it’s great that it exists! It …

Mar 24, 2022: Do NFTs tend towards dystopia? At the weekend I visited the Moco Museum with my wife in Amsterdam. It’s the first time I’ve seen an NFT art exhibition. It …

Mar 22, 2022: Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians Cory Doctorow quite rightly calls out that Big Tech’s “too big to fail” status has created “oligopolistic power” which …

Mar 22, 2022: Cancel Technology Noah Smith makes a good point in this article that ‘cancel culture’ has always existed, we just called it ‘social ostracism’. …

Mar 22, 2022: Declining trust in society isn't just a 'vibe shift' This is a wide-ranging and somewhat jumbled article which nevertheless has at its core a key point about the decline in trust in society. That’s …

Mar 20, 2022: Twitter autoblock is what you get when you have software with shareholders I heard from a former colleague that they’d been ‘autoblocked’ on Twitter for responding snarkily to someone. I don’t have an …

Mar 20, 2022: Antartica used to be covered in rainforest Given the news that both the Arctic and Antarctic are currently a lot warmer than expected, this is interesting news. Sea levels 170 metres higher …

Mar 20, 2022: San Francisco is built on the carcasses of old ships Very cool. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. When the gold rush began in 1848, thousands of people sailed into California, hoping to …

Mar 15, 2022: Solarpunk and five climate futures In this interview with Andrew Dana Hudson, he lays out a brief overview of the five futures he discusses in his book. This, in turn, is based on his …

Mar 15, 2022: If you believe it's over, maybe it will be A few weeks ago, I linked to Nesta’s predictions for 2022. One of them, climate inactivism, is a form of nihilism and helplessness I also see in …

Mar 15, 2022: Challenging capitalism through co-ops and community The glossy Instagram lifestyle is actually led by a fraction of a fraction of 1% of the world’s population. Instead of us all elbowing each …

Mar 13, 2022: Some fairy tales may be 6,000 years old It’s fascinating to think that children’s stories may have been told and re-told across languages and cultures for millennia. It just goes …

Mar 13, 2022: A weird tip for weight loss Hacker News isn’t just a great resource for tech-related news. The ‘Ask HN’ threads can also be a wonderful source of information or …

Mar 13, 2022: The week as an human construct This article in Aeon was published at around the same time as I published a post on my personal blog about time as a human construct. In that post, I …

Mar 8, 2022: The Un-Grammable Hang Zone Instagram has never been a place I’ve ever wanted to spend any time or attention. But its impact on physical spaces is undeniable. This post …

Mar 8, 2022: A hardwired obedience to the capitalist system that we exist within I’m not sure where I came across this, but Ian Nesbitt is undertaking a modern pilgrimage on a recently-uncovered medieval route from …

Mar 8, 2022: What if I never change? Oliver Burkeman on Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurrry Slowly is an absolute treat. In particular, he quotes Jim Benson on how we can easily become …

Mar 7, 2022: Switching from Telegram to Signal Like many people in a relationship, I have a persistent backchannel with my wife. I have never used WhatsApp, and so we ended up using Telegram. After …

Mar 7, 2022: AI-synthesized faces are here to fool you No-one who’s been paying attention should be in the last surprised that AI-synthesized faces are now so good. However, we should probably be a …

Mar 7, 2022: Lizard brain vs infinite scroll It’s funny that the author of this article uses Reddit’s app as an example of the problems with infinite scroll, as it’s the app …

Mar 1, 2022: Xero starts using consent-based decision making Sociocracy, which includes consent-based decision making, is something we use at WAO. I’ve written about it several times on my personal blog as …

Mar 1, 2022: What makes writing more readable? I had the pleasure of interviewing Georgia Bullen, Executive Director of Simply Secure yesterday. I noticed that her website links to an active RSS …

Mar 1, 2022: Audrey Watters on the technology of wellness and mis/disinformation Audrey Watters is turning her large brain to the topic of “wellness” and, in this first article, talks about mis/disinformation. This is …

Feb 25, 2022: Offline for 3 days David Cain took three days offline. It sounds like something that wouldn’t have been amazing 15 years ago, but these days goes straight to the …

Feb 25, 2022: Facebook is dying While I only deleted my Twitter account at the end of last year, it’s been about 12 years since I deleted my Facebook one. As Cory Doctorow …

Feb 25, 2022: The hard part of the work is doing the work I am thankful every working day that I set up a co-operative with friends and former colleagues so that while I’m in control of my own destiny, …

Feb 24, 2022: AI cannot hold copyright (yet) I think common sense would suggest that copyright should only apply to human-created works. But the line between what human brains and artificial ones …

Feb 24, 2022: Technology and productivity Julian Stodd’s personal realisation that what the people who make ‘productivity tools’ want and what he wants might be two different …

Feb 24, 2022: Hacking the application process It’s perhaps a massive over-simplification, but my understanding of the so-called ‘skills gap’ is that two things are happening. The …

Feb 23, 2022: You cannot 'solve' online misinformation Matt Baer, who founded the excellent platform write.as, weighs in on misinformation and disinformation. This is something I’m interested in …

Feb 23, 2022: The life run by spreadsheet is not worth living When work is the most significant thing in your life, you optimise for it. When relationships are are the most significant things in your life, you …

Feb 23, 2022: The benefits of taking Wednesdays off Today is a Wednesday and I’m taking a half-day off today and tomorrow as it’s half-term for the kids. But, pre-pandemic I used to take …

Feb 19, 2022: Dark patterns and gambling Given that most gambling these days happens via smartphone apps, and that the psychological tricks used by gambling firms are also used by, for …

Feb 17, 2022: Speeding up a Chromebook by allocating zram Oddly enough, in the few days since I've bookmarked this URL, it's disappeared. Thank goodness for the Internet Archive! I'll post the main details …

Feb 17, 2022: Stone Age culture in the Orkney islands When I was eight years old, we took a family trip to the Orkney islands off the north coast of Scotland. I don’t know why we went there …

Feb 17, 2022: Upgrading an iPod Video for use in 2022 I’m an OG when it comes to MP3 players, having owned an Archos MP3 Jukebox while I was at uni in about 2001. It was ridiculously expensive for …

Feb 16, 2022: Digital to analogue and back again It’s good to have Warren Ellis back. I have no opinion on this other than we should believe women when they accuse men of abuse. His reflections …

Feb 16, 2022: Chrome OS Flex About 18 months ago, Google acquired Neverware, a company who took the open source version of Chrome OS and customised it for the schools market. The …

Feb 15, 2022: OKRs as institutional memory Rick Klau, formerly of Google Ventures, is a big fan of OKRs (or ‘Objectives and Key Results’). They’re different from KPIs (or …

Feb 15, 2022: Nesta's predictions for 2022 Nesta shares its ‘Future Signals’ for 2022, some predictions about how things might shake out this year. I’d draw your attention in …

Feb 15, 2022: Medieval Fantasy City Generator The history geek in me loves this so much. And the educator interested in digital literacies loves the fact that you have to manipulate the URL to …

Feb 8, 2022: Blockchain and trusted third parties As Cory Doctorow points out, merely putting something on a blockchain doesn’t make the data itself ‘trusted’ (or useful!) In …

Feb 8, 2022: On hobbies This was linked to in the latest issue of Dense Discovery with the question of who amongst the readership has taken up a hobby recently? As Anne Helen …

Feb 8, 2022: Reducing offensive social media messages by intervening during content-creation Six per cent isn’t a lot, but perhaps a number of approaches working together can help with this? The proliferation of harmful and offensive …

Feb 4, 2022: The burnout epidemic I work an average of about 25 hours per week and I’m tired at the end of it. I can’t even imagine how I coped in my twenties while …

Feb 4, 2022: Check your perspective A useful and illustrative story from Sheila Heen, author of Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most, about why it’s useful to …

Feb 4, 2022: Productivity dysmorphia This is a useful term for “the intersection of burnout, imposter syndrome, and anxiety”. Say you manage a coffee shop. In one day, you …

Feb 1, 2022: Twitter's decline into right-leaning hellsite I quit Twitter at the start of December. Despite being an early adopter, joining in the same year as my son was born, 15 years later it’s gone …

Feb 1, 2022: Explaining ideas This comes at things from a branding/advertising perspective, but I appreciate the focus on clarity of language. After all, clarity of language is …

Feb 1, 2022: BBC Archives and the changing of history On the one hand, I’m glad that the BBC is ensuring that some of its archive material is a bit more in keeping with our (hopefully more …

Jan 31, 2022: Private schools having charitable status is an absolute scam I’ve always been against private schooling. I’m glad that others, even those who went to them themselves, are also seeing how bad they are …

Jan 31, 2022: Your attention was stolen I still find it hard to trust Johann Hari’s writing, but this is more introspective and covers a subject that we all know is an issue: …

Jan 26, 2022: Control and responsibility A massive over-simplification, but then that’s the point of 2x2 grids. Of course, everyone wants to think they’re in the top-right …

Jan 24, 2022: Spatial Finance Using real-time satellite imagery to ensure that people are building (or not-building) what they say they’re going to. ‘Spatial finance’ is the …

Jan 24, 2022: Health surveillance It’s possible to be entirely in favour mass vaccination (as I am) while also concerned about the over-reach of states with our personal health …

Jan 24, 2022: NFTs, financialisation, and crypto grifters At over two hours long, I’m still only half-way through this video but I can already highly recommend it. There’s some technical language, …

Jan 23, 2022: Tether and crypto price manipulation You’d expect Jacobin to be against crypto, but this is the first level-headed explanation of the ‘Tether controversy’ I’ve …

Jan 23, 2022: Co-ops and DAOs Handy article, especially for those deep in the ‘capitalist realism’ (or neoliberalism) that the author describes. Although co-ops and …

Jan 23, 2022: Hype levels Handy. I do like typologies and scales. Today‘s tech industry is obsessed with the big futures. The metaverses, the next internets — you name it. …

Jan 23, 2022: Individualism and collectivism in decentralised networks I don’t agree with Paul Frazee’s point in this post about Twitter vs “p2p Twitters” (by which he means the Fediverse) but …

Jan 22, 2022: Web3 and Ed3 are both problematic Web3 is being discussed as if it’s anything other than the financialisation of everything. This post about ‘Ed3’ really struggles to …

Jan 22, 2022: Is QWERTY a really bad keyboard layout? I’ve been able to touch-type since I was about 12 years of age, thanks to Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Like most people, I use the QWERTY …

Jan 22, 2022: A low-tech solution for personal warmth My family, especially the female members, have always been big fans of the hot water bottle. So much so, in fact, that one of my wife’s …

Jan 21, 2022: Kids need life on the highest volume This article is based on the author’s experiences as a teacher in state schools in the US. I should imagine the situation is exacerbated there, …

Jan 21, 2022: Paying for everything twice As someone who’s recently started using a budgeting app, and who has a lot of music-making equipment lying around unused, I concur. One …

Jan 21, 2022: Ancient cynicism As with stoicism, we’ve lost the ancient meaning of the word ‘cynicism’. I think you can probably tell a lot about how much love I …

Jan 20, 2022: E2EE is for everyone Not only has the current UK government underfunded the NHS since coming to power in an attempt to introduce market-based medicine, orchestrated the …

Jan 20, 2022: The life-changing difference of an internet connection As someone who’s seemingly around the same age as the author of this post, I agree that the internet has made my life better. I didn’t …

Jan 20, 2022: Abusing AI girlfriends I don’t often share this kind of thing because I find it distressing. We shouldn’t be surprised, though, that the kind of people who …

Jan 19, 2022: Pix and digital payments in Brazil I came across this story via Benedict Evans' newsletter (it’s not the kind of thing I’d usually track). What I find interesting is this is …

Jan 19, 2022: Nine planetary boundaries This is a useful diagram to share in order to demonstrate that we might think we’re shafted with regards to climate change, but that pales into …

Jan 19, 2022: Optimism about the future I don’t have a particularly strong interest in sci-fi, nor do I have access to all of this paywalled post. However, I don’t need either to …

Jan 18, 2022: Reading is useless I like this post by graduate student Beck Tench. Reading is useless, she says, in the same way that meditation is useless. It’s for its own …

Jan 18, 2022: The cost of a thing is the amount of life which is required to be exchanged for it This article in The Atlantic by Alan Lightman points out how biophilic we have been historically as a species, and how that’s changed only …

Jan 18, 2022: Matching work activities to mind modes This by Jakob Greenfeld reminds me of Buster Benson’s evergreen post Live like a hydra — especially the sub-section ‘Seven modes (for …

Jan 17, 2022: Does Not Translate  I enjoyed some of these untranslatable words from languages other than English. Sturmfrei (German) When all the people you live with are gone for a …

Jan 17, 2022: How to be useless I love articles that give us a different lens for looking at the world, and this one certainly does that. It also provides links for further reading, …

Jan 17, 2022: Your accusations are your confessions I didn’t know Stephen Downes had a political blog. These are his thoughts on cancel culture which, like most of what he says in general, I agree …

Jan 13, 2022: Web3, the metaverse, and the DRM-isation of everything I’ve been reading a report entitled Crypto Theses for 2022 recently. Despite having some small investments in crypto, the world that’s …

Jan 13, 2022: America, fascism, and the first, second, and third 'solutions' Jason Kottke reminds us of Toni Morrison’s “Ten Steps Towards Fascism” from 1995. As an historian, it was this bit that he also …

Jan 13, 2022: Persistent Practices and Pragmatism I think Albert Wenger has discovered, however obliquely, Pragmatism. Once you realise that the correspondence theory of truth is nonsense, and that it …

Jan 12, 2022: Meetings and work theatre The way that you do something is almost as important as what you do. However, I’ve definitely noticed that, during the pandemic as people get …

Jan 12, 2022: Vaccine Hesitancy as part of a Plague Anthology  I’m not sure who’s behind this website, but it looks good. I appreciated the historical context behind vaccine hesitancy in cultures other …

Jan 12, 2022: Let's Settle This This is good fun and, in fact, Laura and I used it to structure the upcoming Season 3 trailer for our podcast. It's time to settle the endless …

Jan 10, 2022: Signal's CEO on 'web3' My first response to most new technological things is usually “cool, I wonder how I/we could use that?” With so-called ‘web3’, …

Jan 10, 2022: Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. Someone I once knew well used to cite Gramsci’s famous quotation: “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” I’m …

Jan 10, 2022: Laptops aren't what they used to be This guy went back to using a Lenovo ThinkPad T430 and explains why in this post. Over Christmas, I replaced some of the cosmetic parts of my X220, …

Jan 7, 2022: Somebody please tell the travel industry there's a climate emergency Utter madness. German giant Lufthansa said it would have to fly an additional 18,000 “unnecessary” flights through the winter to hold on to landing …

Jan 7, 2022: Covid immunity and medical breakthroughs It seems like we’re learning a lot in a very short space of time about viruses and immunity. Happily, this might lead to breakthroughs in all …

Jan 7, 2022: Jam tomorrow The key to success traditionally has been to play the long game. If the system is rigged in your favour, that works. If it's not, then it's always …

Nov 21, 2021: Everyone has something to teach As someone who is apparently in a microgeneration between Generation X and Millennials, I feel constantly the tension between the “old …

Nov 21, 2021: Ignore the sociotechnics at your peril This post is focusing on technical teams looking after software. But it can also apply to anything where systems are being developed and/or …

Nov 21, 2021: Wealth is a product of luck This seems obvious to me: that luck plays a great part in success. Well, serendipity, perhaps which can always be given a helping hand by elite …

Nov 19, 2021: Unsolicited advice might not be so bad after all? I’ve followed Tressie McMillan Cottom on Twitter ever since she did a keynote for ALT a few years ago. In this article for The New York Times, …

Nov 19, 2021: Peeking around corners with holographic cameras It's amazing to think that 10 years ago we thought we were only a few years away from fully autonomous vehicles. Even now, we're in the early stages …

Nov 19, 2021: The impact of a plant-based diet on migraines Aged 18, I was rejected at the last hurdle from the Royal Air Force for a scholarship which would have paid for my university tuition. The reason? …

Nov 18, 2021: Information is not knowledge (and knowledge is not wisdom) Some reflections by Nick Milton on why knowledge management within organisations is so poor. If I were him, I would have included the below …

Nov 18, 2021: Start Often Finish rArely I love this, and along with this post about the joy of watching films in black and white, led to me starting a new art project. SOFA is the name of a …

Nov 18, 2021: Pain, suffering, and scuba diving In this post, Derek Sivers shares his experience of a panic attack during a scuba diving trip and being calmed down by his instructor. He then …

Nov 13, 2021: Introspections on timewasting What I’ve learned over the years from my own experience is that what one person calls a “waste of time” is the complete opposite for …

Nov 13, 2021: Should teenagers be using social media? We probably already know the answer While I’m not a fan of Nicholas Carr’s approach to technology (“is Google making us stupid?") I do have sympathy with Cal …

Nov 13, 2021: Freedom for the few vs. freedom for the many My wife and I were talking about lockdowns yesterday given that we’re due to be travelling to the Netherlands next month and they’ve …

Nov 12, 2021: Games as a cultural, educational, and predictive force As a gamer, I grow frustrated with people who don’t consider games to be an art form and vehicle for stories comparable with other cultural …

Nov 12, 2021: Big Tech companies may change their names but they will not voluntarily change their economics I based a good deal of Truth, Lies, and Digital Fluency, a talk I gave in NYC in December 2019, on the work of Shoshana Zuboff. Writing in The New …

Nov 12, 2021: Momentum over details I subscribed to Laura Olin’s newsletter recently, and the first issue I received mentioned how the late Dave Graeber “liked to… …

Nov 10, 2021: Aimless wandering in search of the unknown catalyst It might not be too much of a stretch to describe Edward Snowden as a hero of mine. I’m not sure what he’s still doing in Russia, but the …

Nov 8, 2021: Surveillance vs working openly Austin Kleon is famous for his book Show Your Work, something that our co-op references from time to time, as it backs up our belief in working …

Nov 8, 2021: A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature I can’t argue with every anti-vaxxer and climate denialist, but I can debate a few on my timeline. And this xkcd is another useful thing to …

Nov 8, 2021: Platform power and infrastructure John Naughton writes notes that we need to describe a fourth kind of power alongside compelling us to do something, stopping us from doing something, …

Nov 7, 2021: Proving endemic racism and sexism in the world of football Anyone who follows football will perhaps be disappointed yet unsurprised that racism and sexism continue to be part of the beautiful game. This study …

Nov 7, 2021: Just Don't Do It This isn’t an easy article to cite, mainly because I want to quote both it and some commentary by Andrew Curry. The original article is …

Nov 7, 2021: Carbon emissions per km Now that I'm not flying any more, I need to figure out ways to get to places where I'd usually travel by plane. For example, I'm travelling to the …

Nov 5, 2021: Whitelabelling Stadia tech I recognise that this is rather niche, but as a fan of Google Stadia, this is great to see. For some reason, there’s a lot of people who seem to …

Nov 5, 2021: Build your 'castle' on land you own and control This post is ostensibly about marketing a game studio, but it has wider lessons for all kinds of creators. Long story short? Don’t get seduced …

Nov 5, 2021: Retro football gaming FTW The amount of nostalgia that this article gave me was incredible. I have spent more time with the Championship Manager series of games (now Football …

Nov 4, 2021: How to communicate remotely I’ve worked from home for almost a decade now and still find posts like this incredibly instructive. Not only does Olivier Lacan go through …

Nov 4, 2021: Exploration pays long-term dividends for your career This article focuses on the work of Dashun Wang, an economist at Northwestern University, who has looked at ‘hot streaks’ in the careers …

Nov 4, 2021: Is this a Signal backdoor? Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s something. But when an Open Source messaging app claims to need to make part of it closed source, maybe …

Nov 1, 2021: Taking the long view on weekly working hours I find comparative analysis of working patterns absolutely fascinating. What counts as work? What does it mean to be productive? What is the context …

Nov 1, 2021: Climate optimism COP26 has started, and it’s easy to be cynical and defeatist about the whole thing. But this article in The Guardian offers some glimmers of …

Nov 1, 2021: Middle class pursuit of pain through endurance sports is a thing Oh this is fascinating. Get to your forties and everyone seems to be interested in marathons, triathlons, and putting on lycra to go and cycle …

Oct 29, 2021: Why large tree-planting initiatives often fail ‘Carbon offsetting’ is just a way of the western middle classes assuaging their climate guilt. We can do better by thinking holistically. …

Oct 29, 2021: Securing your digital life Usually, guides to securing your digital life are very introductory and basic. This one from Ars Technica, however, is a bit more advanced. I …

Oct 29, 2021: The permanent mask I’m sharing this mainly for the blackout poetry, but I also appreciate the quotation from Nabakov that Austin Kleon shares in this post. As I …

Oct 29, 2021: Why go back to normal when you weren't enjoying it in the first place? Writing in Men's Health, and sadly not available anywhere I can link to, Will Self reflects on what we've collectively learned during the pandemic. In …

Oct 23, 2021: Brand-safe influencers and the blurring of reality Earlier this week, in a soon-to-be released episode of the Tao of WAO podcast, we were talking about the benefits and pitfalls of NGOs like Greenpeace …

Oct 23, 2021: Psychological hibernation I can’t really remember what life was like before having children. Becoming a parent changes you in ways you can’t describe to …

Oct 23, 2021: Twitter acknowledges right-wing bias in its algorithmic feed I mentioned on Twitter last week how I noticed that I keep getting recommended stories about Nigel Farage and from outlets on the political right wing …

Oct 22, 2021: Otters vs. Possums It’s an odd metaphor, but the behaviours described in terms of internet communities are definitely something I’ve witnessed in 25 years of …

Oct 22, 2021: What are microcredentials? I suppose we should have listened when people told the team I was on at Mozilla time and time again that the name ‘Open Badges’ …

Oct 22, 2021: Walking the Covid tightrope  I’m sharing this article mainly for the genius of the accompanying illustration, although it also does a good job of trying to explain an …

Oct 18, 2021: Kith and kin This is a great article about how the internet was going to save us from TV and now we’re looking for something to save us from the internet. …

Oct 18, 2021: Bring Your Own Stack Venture Capitalists inhabit a slightly different world than the rest of us. This post, for example, paints a picture of a future that makes sense to …

Oct 18, 2021: Fall Regression I’ve only just discovered the writing of Anne Helen Petersen, via one of the many newsletters and feeds to which I subscribe. I featured her …

Oct 15, 2021: Reducing long-distance travel I agree with what Simon Jenkins is saying here about focusing on the ‘reduce’ part of sustainable travel. However, it does sound a bit …

Oct 15, 2021: Time millionaires Same idea, new name: there’s nothing new about the idea of prioritising the amount of time and agency you have over the amount of money you …

Oct 15, 2021: On the digital literacies of regular web users Terence Eden opened a new private browsing window and started typing “https…” and received the results of lots of different sites. …

Oct 12, 2021: Leisure is what we do for its own sake. It serves no higher end. Yes, yes, and yes. I agree wholeheartedly with this view that places human flourishing above work. To limit work’s negative moral effects on people, …

Oct 12, 2021: UK government adviser warns against plans to force the NHS to share data with police forces It’s entirely unsurprising that governments should seek to use the pandemic as cover for hoovering up data about its citizens. However, …

Oct 12, 2021: Sports data and GDPR This is really quite fascinating. The use of player data has absolutely exploded in the last decade, and that's now being challenged from a GDPR (i.e. …

Oct 11, 2021: Precrastinators, procrastinators, and originals A really handy TED talk focusing on ‘precrastinators’ (with whom I definitely identify) and how they differ from procrastinators and what …

Oct 11, 2021: Why commute to an office to work remotely? This piece by Anne Helen Petersen is so good about the return to work. It’s ostensibly about US universities, but is so much widely applicable. …

Oct 11, 2021: On 'sportswashing' There has been a lot written and recorded already about Newcastle United, my geographically-closest Premier League football team, and the rival of the …

Oct 11, 2021: On the dangers of CBDCs I can’t remember the last time I used cash. Or rather, I can (for my son’s haircut) because it was so unusual; it’s been about 18 …

Oct 11, 2021: Subsidising trains via a tax on internal flights? My wife flew down to a work meetup (and to see her family) last week. She got the train back. The flight was about £40, and the train about five times …

Oct 11, 2021: Subsidising trains via a tax on internal flights? My wife flew down to a work meetup (and to see her family) last week. She got the train back. The flight was about £40, and the train about five times …

Oct 8, 2021: Opting out of capitalism One of the huge benefits of the pandemic has been that it’s allowed people to reflect on their lives. And many people, it seems, realised that …

Oct 8, 2021: Blissed, Blessed, Pissed, and Dissed Austin Kleon summarises Bill O’Hanlon’s idea around there being ‘four energies’ that writers can dig into. They may need …

Oct 8, 2021: The Stability Fantasy The last time I was in LA, I hired a Dodge Charger and navigated the huge freeways meeting a client and then visiting a friend. I remember going for a …

Oct 8, 2021: Singapore is turning into a dystopian surveillance state Well, this is concerning. Especially given governments' love for authoritarian technologies and copying one another’s surveillance practices. …

Oct 8, 2021: Good decision-making Some useful advice from Ed Batista about the difference between ‘good decision-making’ and ‘making the right decision’. I …

Oct 8, 2021: Carbon offsets are pure greenwashing Having travelled here, there, and everywhere by air for both personal and professional business over the last decade, it took me too long to realise …

Oct 8, 2021: Six Causes of Burnout at Work This is an interesting article from UC Berkley’s Greater Good Magazine based on journalist Jennifer Moss' new book The Burnout Epidemic: The …

Oct 8, 2021: Facebook isn't just anti-competitive, it's anti-consumer I can’t quite understand why people still use Facebook’s services, other than vendor lock-in? The tool I created, a browser extension …

Oct 8, 2021: Traffic to news sites went up during the Facebook outage. It’s really problematic that most people get their news via algorithmic news feeds. On August 3, 2018, Facebook went down for 45 minutes. …

Oct 8, 2021: Who wants a metaverse created by Facebook? No-one. Facebook is nearing a reputational point of no return. Even when it set out plausible responses to Ms Haugen, people no longer wanted to …

Sep 9, 2021: Microcast #095 — Rewilding your serendipity surface Attention, Big Tech, and choosing to curate rather than be curated. Show notes Rewilding Your Attention (CJ Eller)“Rewilding Your Attention” (Clive …

Sep 8, 2021: Microcast #094 — Solarpunk vs technocratic pharaohs Overview A thematic look at sustainable futures, from equitable approaches to chimeric fetuses and phallic spaceships. Show notes Solarpunk: Notes …

Sep 7, 2021: Microcast #093 — Boring hot dogs Overview Everything from life-shortening foods to Twitter's attempt to control feuds. Show notes Eating a Single Hot Dog May Take 36 Minutes Off Your …

Sep 6, 2021: Microcast #092 — Drinking in the sunlight Overview Another eclectic mix of articles, from Apple to alcohol. Show notes Why Fitter People Drink More Alcohol (Outside Magazine)Why Does The …

Sep 4, 2021: Microcast #091 — Arguing in circles Overview An eclectic mix of articles in today's microcast, covering everything from teens and tech to Fediverse functionality. Show notes Britain …

Sep 3, 2021: Microcast #090 — Doing what you love in an angry world Overview I try and spot a theme between the three articles I pick out. Today's is something around (negative) emotions and getting on (well) with …

Sep 2, 2021: Microcast #089 — Circumvention Overview In this microcast I discuss three articles loosely related to censorship and the circumvention thereof. Show notes The Uncensored Library …

Sep 1, 2021: Microcast #088 — Spontaneous fluctuations Overview In which I pick another three interesting items from my bookmarks to discuss. Show notes Why is walking so good for the brain? Blame it on …

Aug 31, 2021: Microcast #087 — Back in the game! Overview It's been a long time since the last microcast, but they're back! Comments? Questions? Add them below! Show notes Three hours a week: Play …

Aug 23, 2021: How long before everyone's using decentralised messengers? I first experimented with Linux in 1997. It wasn't until 20 years later that I was running it as my default operating system. I hope it doesn't take …

Aug 19, 2021: Moral outrage and social media I’ve largely quit Twitter these days, mainly because the social network I joined in 2007 turned into a rage machine sometime in the last 5-10 …

Aug 19, 2021: Motivating people who don't need a job There are two kinds of people who don’t need the job you’re providing for them. The first kind is the independently wealthy. The second …

Aug 19, 2021: 100% inheritance tax? If we can’t stop people raking up ridiculous sums of money, we can definitely prevent them passing on that wealth to their kids. Thankfully, …

Aug 17, 2021: Culture is in a state of constant flux My parents, the son of a factory worker and assistant baker and the daughter of domestic servants, were both the first in their families to go to …

Aug 17, 2021: The Great Reckoning When I was a teacher and school senior leader in my twenties I worked all the hours. Not only that, but I was writing my doctoral thesis and we had a …

Aug 17, 2021: Brains melted like butter in a microwave This is a really powerful essay about the American response — or lack of it to the news that the Taliban have taken Kabul. The author, Antonio García …

Aug 12, 2021: What is 'solarpunk'? I've seen people on the Fediverse, including people I know and have worked with, describe themselves as 'solarpunks'. It seems like the approach is …

Aug 10, 2021: Global temperatures: 1980-2021 This xkcd chart starts in 1980 which is when I was born so, although it has Randall Munroe’s details on it, in some ways it also feels personal …

Aug 10, 2021: Five-hour workdays I’ve been saying for as long as anyone will listen to me that I can do a maximum of four hours high-quality knowledge work per day. Add on some …

Aug 9, 2021: The Cult of the Upper Classes Today is the day that the IPCC report is released. Our response to it, in the UK at least, depends a great deal on the attitude that the upper classes …

Aug 9, 2021: The Cult of the Upper Classes Today is the day that the IPCC report is released. Our response to it, in the UK at least, depends a great deal on the attitude that the upper classes …

Jul 9, 2021: Internal Google comics I discovered these comics, made over several years by someone who worked at Google, via Hacker News. The one below I thought was a fantastic roast of …

Jul 8, 2021: 5 main concerns of top scientists about the relaxing of UK Covid restrictions This warning to the UK government with the ‘five main concerns’ of top scientists is quite concerning. First, unmitigated transmission …

Jul 7, 2021: Skills-based hiring vs universities This is Stephen Downes' commentary on an article by Tom Vander Ark. I think crunch time is coming for universities, especially when you think about …

Jul 7, 2021: Mr Bingo's Zoom backgrounds This made me laugh, especially as in the midst of the pandemic I was using a green screen and changing my Zoom background every day! <img …

Jul 6, 2021: On Twitter addiction I used to be addicted to Twitter before it was cool to be addicted to Twitter. Back when all you got was 140 characters, and I’d find myself …

Jul 5, 2021: Propeller-based car that can go faster than the wind This is pretty amazing. [embed]www.youtube.com/watch Source: A Physics Prof Bet Me $10,000 I’m Wrong | Veritasium

Jul 5, 2021: Main-Character Energy Before starting therapy, my wife said that she was concerned that I might “lose my superpowers”. One of the ways of thinking about this is …

Jul 5, 2021: Parasocial relationships through digital media I think we’ve all felt a close affinity and, dare I say, relationship with people who wouldn’t know who we were if we met them in real …

Jul 5, 2021: The album is no longer the unit of musical currency I’m sitting listening to the new Kings of Convenience album while writing this. As this article points out, listening to albums is an …

Jul 3, 2021: Leslie Caron on Cary Grant's attitude to money I read most things online, but I came across this one via my print subscription to Guardian Weekly (which I recommend highly). Leslie Caron, who …

Jul 2, 2021: Hemp captures more carbon than trees I don’t think it will be long before we see fields and fields of hemp, just like we see fields of rapeseed at the moment. For example, I often …

Jul 2, 2021: Giving work oxygen Cassie Robinson, whose work I seem to have been two steps removed from over the last decade, talks about the importance of weeknotes and working …

Jul 2, 2021: Moving air through a building more efficiently using a fan For those of you sweltering away inside a building, it might be better to be blowing air out of the window… [embed]www.youtube.com/watch This …

Jul 2, 2021: Moving air through a building more efficiently using a fan For those of you sweltering away inside a building, it might be better to be blowing air out of the window… [embed]www.youtube.com/watch This …

Jun 29, 2021: Algorithmic work overlords When I read articles like this that remind me of the film Elysium, I try and tell myself that, in the end, people won’t allow themselves to be …

Jun 29, 2021: What exactly is 'hybrid work'? ‘Future’ is a new publication from the VC firm a16z. As such, most things there, while interesting, need to be taken with a large pinch of …

Jun 29, 2021: The most sustainable foods? I’m surprised at this list from The Guardian, which includes red meat. As of February, I don’t eat fish (or shellfish) so mussels are off …

Jun 25, 2021: Decentralised organising I update the WAO wiki page on how we make decisions today and used a graphic inspired by Richard D. Bartlett. He, in turn, added the page to a …

Jun 25, 2021: AI for auto-generated landscapes I’m still blown away by the canvas autofill in Photoshop, never mind AI turning blobs of virtual paint into landscapes! Incredible. …

Jun 24, 2021: 95% of fish are 'dark fish' If scientists have indeed got this correct, it’s an incredible finding. Prof Duarte led a seven-month circumnavigation of the globe in the …

Jun 24, 2021: UK government survey into climate change and net zero The UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published a report today showing the results of a an online survey …

Jun 23, 2021: Is the self-censorship the most dangerous form of censorship? Edward Snowden, in his new newsletter, makes the case that self-censorship — the suppression of ideas that never see the light of day — is the most …

Jun 23, 2021: New network of sleeper trains Team Belshaw went inter-railing a few summers ago, which included a sleeper train from Switzerland to Slovenia, and it was fantastic. In a time when …

Jun 23, 2021: Why going slowly speeds teams up If I had to characterise the default way of doing things within average companies it would, unfortunately, include giving people more and more things …

Jun 22, 2021: How to stop being a perfectionist This is a useful and to-the-point article about ways in which perfectionists self-sabotage, and the ways in which they can get out of their own way. …

Jun 22, 2021: There's a word for everything I experienced some dysania this morning and made my own Bannock device using some paper yesterday to order my son some shoes online. You? Source: The …

Jun 21, 2021: Lobsters and octopuses are sentient and feel pain I stopped eating meat in November 2017 but, until February of this year, was still eating fish (including lobster and other shellfish). That changed …

Jun 21, 2021: Leadership is contextual This article feels quite foreign to me as a member of a co-operative, but it contains an important insight. I feel that there’s more nuance than …

Jun 20, 2021: How becoming a father changes men It’s Father’s Day today, in the UK at least. My children, who both delight and infuriate in equal measure, spoiled me with some thoughtful …

Jun 19, 2021: Online personas and liquid modernity Drew Austin references Zygmunt Bauman, an author I referenced in my thesis, in relation to personhood and social media. Really interesting. …

Jun 19, 2021: The ideology of e-s-c-a-p-e Taken from Jem Bendell's chapter ‘Deeper Implications of Societal Collapse: Co-liberation from the Ideology of E-s-c-a-p-e’ in the new book Deep …

Jun 19, 2021: Cultural complexes contributing to the climate crisis Taken from Adrian Tait's chapter 'Climate Psychology and Its Relevance to Deep Adaptation' in the new book Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities …

Jun 18, 2021: Improv as a tool for building better products I’m a fan of metaphor and productive ambiguity, and so I like this improv approach to product development. Some improv scenes are initiated …

Jun 18, 2021: "This is extremely dangerous to our democracy" Depending on what happens next year and in 2024, the US might not even be a democracy within this decade… [embed]www.youtube.com/watch Source: …

Jun 18, 2021: Information means nothing by itself I had reason to reference this image today, which is an update of the classic gapingvoid cartoon. The point I was making is that a lot of …

Jun 18, 2021: Value and liquidity of skills This is a really nice way of explaining value within jobs and careers. Not only do you have to be good, but other people need to know about it. It’s …

Jun 17, 2021: Organic Maps I really like Google Maps, but I don’t like how much data it hoovers up. I also don’t like how focused it is on urban areas, so this looks …

Jun 17, 2021: The Puritan Class Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reflects on sanctimonious social media: In certain young people today... I notice what I find increasingly …

Jun 17, 2021: Monetizing stupidity? Nothing surprising about attractive person + financial advice getting people interested, but I thought this was interesting from the ‘monetizing …

Jun 16, 2021: Open Badges Verifiable Credentials I’m really grateful for people like Kerri Lemoie who understand digital credentials both technically and educationally, and have the time (she …

Jun 16, 2021: Criminals' right to be forgotten This is interesting: the Associated Press are no longer going to name people involved in minor crimes. I have to agree with their rationale. These …

Jun 16, 2021: The end of cookie banners? This is the draft a new standard (spec) to hopefully get rid of those annoying cookie banners. We went through all of this with Do Not Track, so …

Jun 15, 2021: Positive deviance in the workplace This article is based around a story about NASA engineers in the 1980s, but touches on something that I feel that we know instinctively. While every …

Jun 15, 2021: Slow travel and camping in other people's gardens A lazy way to describe this would be ‘Airbnb for camping’ but actually, it’s green, anti-capitalist and community-oriented. I might …

Jun 15, 2021: Generative art We’re going to see a lot more of this in the next few years, along with the predictable hand-wringing about what constitutes ‘art’. …

Jun 14, 2021: Social media is done Ironically enough, I discovered the author Rick Wayne via his posts on the Fediverse. He's decided that he's done with social media, and has a new …

Jun 14, 2021: Conceptual integrity As a project manager, as a product manager, and as a consultant, the thing that often frustrates me is the desire to go full steam ahead without a …

Jun 14, 2021: Dunbar's friendship circles This is interesting: the number of people say they have in different friendship ‘circles’. Extroverts tend to have more than introverts. …

Jun 14, 2021: Remote workers clock up more hours, says one study It takes time and/or training to transition fully to remote working. If it’s not something you’ve chosen (say, because of the pandemic) …

Jun 14, 2021: Remote workers clock up more hours, says one study It takes time and/or training to transition fully to remote working. If it’s not something you’ve chosen (say, because of the pandemic) …

Jun 12, 2021: Fractional dosing of COVID vaccines may help more people get immunity faster The advice to date has, quite rightly, to get any COVID vaccine that’s available to you. For me, that’s meant a double dose of …

Jun 12, 2021: People pay selective attention to what they deem important I really enjoyed this article, ostensibly about the amazing vocal technique of one Charles Kellogg who could “put out fire by singing”. …

Jun 12, 2021: No more simplified URLs in Chrome On balance, I’m pleased that this ‘experiment’ is being put to rest. Although I’m for simplifying needlessly-complex aspects …

Jun 12, 2021: A point-based system for email address pronounceability  My personal email address scores 1, my co-op email address (because it ends in .coop) gets a 2. You're at the doctors office, talking to an …

Jun 11, 2021: The end of petrol stations Another article looking at the future of electric vehicles. I particularly like the section where it talks about how, if you were trying to sell the …

Jun 11, 2021: A glimpse into the future of autonomous electric vehicles Ideally, we’d all be using mass transit rather than just switch fossil fuel-based vehicles for their electric equivalents. But, as a student of …

Jun 10, 2021: Health and sanity before profit This is an interesting article that takes the tennis player Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open as a symptom of wider trends in the …

Jun 10, 2021: Rationalising work for the 40+ brigade Buried towards the bottom of an update about the Breaking Smart newsletter, Venkatesh Rao includes this diagram and links to a post where he commits …

Jun 9, 2021: Anti-social media As I mentioned on my blog recently, I sometimes feel a strong pull to ‘nuke’ everything and start over again. With Twitter, I actually did …

Jun 8, 2021: AI-generated misinformation is getting more believable, even by experts I’ve been using thispersondoesnotexist.com for projects recently and, honestly, I wouldn’t be able to tell that most of the faces it …

Jun 8, 2021: The end of the Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy What goes up must come down. In this case with prices of services backed by VC firms, the reverse is true… For years, these subsidies …

Jun 8, 2021: Briar now does pictures Briar isn’t the kind of app you necessarily use every day and, in fact, it positions itself as a something used by activists. That being said, …

Jun 8, 2021: Who's the pet? Tarantula or tiny frog? I read recently that some tarantulas keep tiny frogs as ‘pets’. Of course, I had to do some more digging and found out that’s not …

Jun 7, 2021: More US electoral chaos to come in 2024? Difficult to argue against this scenario. The scenario then goes like this. The Republicans win back the House and Senate in 2022, in part thanks to …

Jun 7, 2021: Epistemological chaos and denialism Good stuff from Cory Doctorow on how Big Tobacco invented the playbook and it’s been refined in other industries (especially online) ever since. …

Jun 7, 2021: Information cannot be transmitted faster than the [vacuum] speed of light It’s been a while since I studied Physics, so I confess to not exactly understanding what’s going on here. However, if it speeds up my …

Jun 7, 2021: You don't have to monetize your joy A useful reminder. Adam J. Kurtz, author of Things Are What You Make of Them has rewritten the maxim for modern creatives: “Do what you love and …

Jun 7, 2021: Peer review sucks I don’t have much experience of peer review (I’ve only ever submitted one article and peer reviewed two) but it felt a bit archaic at the …

Jun 6, 2021: How to recover from burnout The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines occupational burnout as "feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s …

Jun 6, 2021: Portals to another world (or town) I love this idea. I can think of many ways it could go wrong, but that’s not the point. There’s also lots of ways it could be awesome. …

Jun 5, 2021: How to organise your fridge My wife, who is one of the most organised people I know, is nevertheless what I would term a ‘fridge anarchist’. I like order, she puts …

Jun 5, 2021: A cure for depression and boredom I love this response to a letter about feeling bored and depressed. The answer is basically “welcome to the world” and that they’re …

Jun 5, 2021: Killer robots are already here Great. Kargu is a “loitering” drone that uses machine learning-based object classification to select and engage targets, according to STM, and also …

Jun 5, 2021: Nostalgia, friction, and read/write literacy  I probably need to revisit this (and the references) but I really enjoyed reading Silvio Lorusso’s essay on computer agency and behaviour. Alan …

Jun 5, 2021: Interoperability for browser plugins This is good news, especially as I’ve noticed recently a lot of developers of browser plugins just creating stuff for Chrome. The WebExtensions …

Jun 4, 2021: A robot that sticks to ceilings by... vibrating This is very cool. [embed]www.youtube.com/watch Source: Somehow This Robot Sticks to Ceilings by Vibrating a Flexible Disc | IEEE Spectrum

Jun 4, 2021: Novelty, brains, and new experiences We managed to get away for three nights last weekend, but I’m truly, deeply, looking forward to being able to do some of the amazing family …

Jun 4, 2021: Taking breaks to be more human I have to say that I’m a bit sick of the narrative that we need time off / to recharge so we can be better workers. Instead, I’d prefer …

Jun 4, 2021: The farmer uses his plough as his form of work Someone mentioned this in passing and I looked it up and thought it was neat. The Sator Square (or Rotas Square) is a two-dimensional word square …

Jun 3, 2021: Invisible sculptures are the logical conclusion of NFTs Speechless. According to Garau, the sculpture doesn't not exist per se, rather it exists in a vacuum, Newsweek reports. "The vacuum is nothing more …

Jun 3, 2021: Virtual brands and ghost kitchens This is the next step after ‘ghost kitchens’ — a multitude of virtual brands that basically offer the same thing but packaged differently. …

Jun 3, 2021: Male bias in scientific trials Wow, this excerpt from Pain & Prejudice is pretty hard-hitting, especially around the paternalistic tendency treating women as ‘walking …

Jun 3, 2021: Degrees of Uncertainty I rarely watch 24-minute online videos all the way through, but this is excellent and well worth everyone’s time. No matter what your …

Jun 2, 2021: 7 climate tipping points that could change the world forever I usually share climate-related stuff over at extinction.fyi but this is too good (and scary) an article not to cross-post. The particular danger, …

Jun 2, 2021: Screenshot culture I’d love to see a longer article about this because discussing the role screenshots play in our increasingly-digitally-mediated culture is …

Jun 2, 2021: The world's most popular websites, mapped Years ago, iA had a map of the web which was much smaller and less intricate than this. My son had it up on his bedroom wall. The digital world is a …

Jun 2, 2021: Sky pool awesomeness Yes, I absolutely would swim across this. Not for the faint of heart, this new Sky Pool at London's Embassy Gardens is 82-foot-long, 10-foot deep, …

Jun 2, 2021: "Alexa, disable arbitration" Companies add ‘binding arbitration’ to their terms and conditions because it usually means they have to pay out less money. However, …

Jun 2, 2021: Meetings as exercises in power Meetings are one of the major ways in which power is demonstrated and exercised in hierarchical organisations. Trusting people and leaving them alone …

Jun 1, 2021: Quitting instead of returning to the office I’ve worked from home since 2012, and what was once unusual was becoming more normal even before the pandemic. Now that remote working has been …

Jun 1, 2021: The End of Literary Criticism Bizarrely enough, given where I grew up, my teenage years were spent reading all kinds of stuff that would probably be shelved under the title …

Jun 1, 2021: Opportunity costs While I appreciate the sentiment behind this article, I feel that the title is a bit off, and the solution a bit odd. Instead, I’d argue by …

Jun 1, 2021: Anxiety and performance I’ve recently had to re-evaluate my life and realise that, while there are others who see me as a confident, middle-aged man, that narrative …

Jun 1, 2021: Twitter reactions Twitter jumped the shark a while ago for me and I spend most of my time on the Fediverse these days. It’s an angry space. However, the reason …

Jun 1, 2021: Deepfake maps There’s plenty to be concerned about in the world at the moment, and this just adds to the party. At a time when most of navigate by following a …

Jun 1, 2021: There's no such thing as a website or web app that doesn't need to be accessible I feel like accessibility is where design used to be: something that’s ‘sprinkled’ on as an afterthought once an app has been …

Jun 1, 2021: Net Zero Democracy Needlessly written in ‘academese’ but this article nevertheless makes an important point about the kind of societies we need to foster in …

Jun 1, 2021: Human and computer memory There are some good points made in this article about ‘desktop’ operating systems but it’s a bit Mac-centric for my liking. …

Jun 1, 2021: Professor goes to 'TikTok University' This is a fun, yet slightly disturbing, look at mansion houses for influencers where people create TikTok videos. The author is a university …

Jun 1, 2021: Social studying I see a lot of music on Spotify and plenty of YouTube video related to studying. I didn’t realise the rabbit hole went much deeper. The Study …

May 28, 2021: Improving VO2max through blood protein analysis My wife and I have recently bought new smartwatches (me: Garmin Venu 2, her: Fitbit Versa 3) and the things they tell us really makes a difference to …

May 28, 2021: 3 ways to live a happier life Useful reminders in this article from Arthur C. Brooks for The Atlantic that neophilia (openness to new experiences) is key to improving our …

May 27, 2021: Maplessness The academic paper that this blog post by Katie Carr is based on is also well worth a read - particularly around countering the e-s-c-a-p-e ideology …

May 26, 2021: Digital fashion is another example of a nascent industry beset with inequalities As the conclusion to this article states, if digital fashion industry doesn’t differentiate itself from IRL fashion now, it’s storing up …

May 26, 2021: Sky explosion Amazing. Source: This Storm Photo Shot in West Texas Looks Like a Sky Explosion | PetaPixel

May 26, 2021: The impact of decision fatigue I remember reading that Barack Obama only had two colours of suits while President of the USA, because making lots of small decisions inhibited his …

May 26, 2021: Wherefore art thou, privacy? As John Naughton points out, if Apple are the only Big Tech company truly interested in preserving our privacy, we should be worried. So here’s where …

May 26, 2021: Badges everywhere! As I predicted, 2021 is the year when Open Badges and digital credentials go mainstream. It’s unsurprising that ‘open’ isn’t …

May 26, 2021: GCHQ violates our privacy Hardly surprising, but it’s important people are still pushing on this eight years(!) after the Snowden revelations. It’s incredible to me …

May 26, 2021: Rat Race 2.0 An insightful post which considers the ways in which current working generations can’t “quit the rat race” in the way previous …

May 26, 2021: Volcano-powered electricity Having visited Iceland in December 2019, just before the pandemic hit, I’ve seen these geothermal plants scattered around the landscape. In …

May 26, 2021: A web-based commonplace book It’s always great to hear Cory read his own work as he’s such an engaging speaker. This is a particularly interesting example, however, as …

May 25, 2021: Mastering a 5,400-character typewriter I can’t even imagine how difficult this must have been to type on! The IBM Chinese typewriter was a formidable machine—not something just …

May 25, 2021: Working from near home The idea of subsidizing W.F.N.H. efforts is not novel. Last fall, a startup in the U.K. called Flown began developing what it describes as an Airbnb …

May 25, 2021: Life should contain novelty Life should contain novelty - experiences you haven't encountered before, preferably teaching you something you didn't already know.  If there …

Mar 6, 2021: 'The individual' is an idea like other ideas I thought I'd share some things that have really opened my eyes recently. The first is a two-part interview with Vinay Gupta from the Emerge podcast …

Mar 6, 2021: Of all lies, art is the least untrue The world doesn't particularly need my opinions on NFTs ('non-fungible tokens') as there's plenty of opinions to go round in other newsletters, …

Feb 27, 2021: One should always be a little improbable 🍲 Introducing ‘Food Grammar,’ the Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine — "Grammars can even impose what is considered a food and what isn’t: Horse and …

Feb 20, 2021: Life is a great bundle of little things As I'm catching up with news from various sources and bookmarking articles to come back and share via Thought Shrapnel, I also come across interesting …

Feb 19, 2021: Criticism, like lightning, strikes the highest peaks 🙏 Blogging as a forgiving medium — "The ability to “move it around for a long time” is what I’m looking for in a writing medium — I want words and …

Feb 13, 2021: Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible 👯‍♀️ Secrets of the VIP Party: Why the 1% Love ‘Ritualised Waste’ — "Post-pandemic, in a broader sense, you glimpsed an immediate reckoning and …

Feb 11, 2021: It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish 🕸️ A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls ⁠— "Rewinding the internet is not about nostalgia. The dominance of a few …

Feb 8, 2021: Taste ripens at the expense of happiness 🧐 Habits, Data, and Things That Go Bump in the Night: Microsoft for Education ⁠— "Microsoft’s ubiquity, however, is sometimes mistaken for banality. …

Feb 4, 2021: Continuous eloquence is tedious 🏭 Ukraine plans huge cryptocurrency mining data centers next to nuclear power plants — "Ukraine's Energoatom followed up [the May 2020] deal with …

Feb 1, 2021: When we ask for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice 🏡 What can we learn from the great working-from-home experiment? — "A few knowledge jobs, such as IT support, are properly systematised to allow …

Jan 30, 2021: Mediocrity is a hand-rail 🤖 Engineers Turned Living Venus Flytrap Into Cyborg Robotic Grabber — "The main purpose of this research was to find a way of creating robotic …

Jan 29, 2021: The certainties of one age are the problems of the next 🏙️ How the spread of sheds threatens cities — "A white-collar worker who has tried to work from the kitchen table for the past nine months might be …

Jan 22, 2021: You don't hate Mondays, you hate capitalism 🧠 I Feel Better Now — "Brain chemistry and childhood trauma go a long way toward explaining a person’s particular struggles with mental health, but …

Jan 19, 2021: Most don't talk or act according to who they are, but as they are obliged to ✨ The World’s Oldest Story? Astronomers Say Global Myths About ‘Seven Sisters’ Stars May Reach Back 100,000 Years — "Why are the Australian Aboriginal …

Jan 15, 2021: The problem is that the person who should be the most restrained is the least 🦆 Bionic Duckweed: making the future the enemy of the present — "In its broader sense, bionic duckweed can be thought of a sort of unobtainium that …

Jan 13, 2021: There are many things we despise in order that we may not have to despise ourselves 🇺🇸 Well, that was expected — "I’ve recorded this here since it feels like the chronology of events and the smaller details are already evaporating, …

Jan 9, 2021: Nothing is repeated, and everything is unparalleled 🤔 We need more than deplatforming — "But as reprehensible as the actions of Donald Trump are, the rampant use of the internet to foment violence and …

Jan 7, 2021: There are persons who, when they cease to shock us, cease to interest us It's difficult not to say "I told you so" when things play out exactly as predicted. Four years ago, when Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th …

Jan 5, 2021: One can acquire anything in solitude except character https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT40Rmjwd-Q How to Be at Home (2020) 🌐 The Metaverse is coming — "Over the course of 2021, the Metaverse will …

Jan 4, 2021: Seeing through is rarely seeing into On New Year's Eve, Farmville shut down. Unlike everyone else who seemed to play the game a decade ago, I never experienced it. Why? Mercifully, I …

Jan 3, 2021: Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self 📚 Bookshelf designs as unique as you are: Part 2 — "Stuffing all your favorite novels into a single space without damaging any of them, and making …

Jan 1, 2021: You can never get rid of what is part of you, even when you throw it away 🤖 Why the Dancing Robots Are a Really, Really Big Problem — "No, robots don’t dance: they carry out the very precise movements that their — …

Jan 1, 2021: You should aim to be independent of any one vote, of any one fashion, of any one century Happy New Year! ⚒️ That which is unique, breaks — "The more finished goods become commodities, the fewer opportunities an individual has to generate …

Nov 30, 2020: See you in 2021! Thought Shrapnel is now on its usual December hiatus, so see you next year for more links and thoughts on the intersection of technology and society!

Nov 27, 2020: A world without apps? When Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPhone in 2007, he didn't show off the App Store. That's because it didn't exist. The full Safari engine is inside of …

Nov 26, 2020: He that overvalues himself will undervalue others, and he that undervalues others will oppress them 🎺 What Time Feels Like When You’re Improvising — "A great example of flow state is found in many improvised art forms, from music to acting to comedy …

Nov 23, 2020: What kind of world do we want? (or, why regulation matters) I saw a thread on Mastodon recently, which included this image: Someone else replied with a meme showing a series of images with the phrase "They …

Nov 17, 2020: A candour affected is a dagger concealed 🤯 The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse 📝 White privilege - a guide for parents ✊🏿 Kimberlé Crenshaw: the woman who revolutionised feminism – and landed …

Nov 17, 2020: Slowly-boiling frogs in Facebook's surveillance panopticon I can't think of a worse company than Facebook than to be creating a IRL surveillance panopticon. But, I have to say, it's entirely on-brand. On …

Nov 12, 2020: To pursue the unattainable is insanity, yet the thoughtless can never refrain from doing so 💬 The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing 🤔 Facebook Maybe Not Singlehandedly Undermining Democracy With Political Content, …

Nov 12, 2020: 'Prepper' philosophy This morning, I came across a long web page from 2016, presumably created as a reaction to everything that went down that year (little did we know!) …

Nov 9, 2020: Much will have more 🧠 How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet 😶 Parler 'free speech' app tops charts in wake of Trump defeat 🤖 'Robot …

Nov 9, 2020: Philosophical anxiety as a superpower Anxiety is a funny thing. Some people are anxious over specific things, while others, like me, have a kind of general background anxiety. It's only …

Nov 6, 2020: You can’t tech your way out of problems the tech didn’t create The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is a US-based non-profit that exists to defend civil liberties in the digital world. They've been around for …

Nov 6, 2020: Even those of a harsh and unyielding nature will endure gentle treatment: no creature is fierce and frightening if it is stroked 🌼 Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet 🙌 The Joys of Being a Stoic ⛏️ Dorset mega henge may be ‘last hurrah’ of …

Nov 3, 2020: When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other 😷 How do pandemics end? 🙆 How I talk to the victims of conspiracy theories 🔒 The Github youtube-dl Takedown Isn't Just a Problem of American Law 🖥️ …

Nov 2, 2020: Ethical living Update: AI upscaled to larger resolution with more clarity /via LinkedIn

Oct 31, 2020: Reafferent loops In Peter Godfrey-Smith's book Other Minds, he cites work from 1950 by the German physiologists Erich van Holst and Horst Mittelstaedt. They used the …

Oct 29, 2020: Hiring is broken, but not in the ways you assume Hacker News is a link aggregator for people who work in tech. There's a lot of very technical information on there, but also stuff interesting to the …

Oct 29, 2020: If you have been put in your place long enough, you begin to act like the place 📉 Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit 💪 How to walk upright and stop living in a cave 🤔 It’s Not About Intention, It’s About Action 💭 Are …

Oct 28, 2020: Why we can't have nice things There's a phrase, mostly used by Americans, in relation to something bad happening: "this is why we can't have nice things". I'd suggest that the …

Oct 26, 2020: Collaboration is our default operating system One of the reasons I'm not active on Twitter any more is the endless, pointless arguments between progressives and traditionalists, between those on …

Oct 26, 2020: Everything intercepts us from ourselves 🤝 Medieval English people used to pay their rent in eels 🤺 The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports Among Ivy League–Obsessed Parents 📜 Archaeologists …

Oct 22, 2020: Fighting health disinformation on Wikipedia This is great to see: As part of efforts to stop the spread of false information about the coronavirus pandemic, Wikipedia and the World Health …

Oct 21, 2020: Seeing through is rarely seeing into ♂️ What does it mean to be a man in 2020? Introducing our news series on masculinity 🎓 America Will Sacrifice Anything for the College Experience: The …

Oct 21, 2020: Perceptions of the past The History teacher in me likes this simple photo quiz site that shows how your perception of the past can easily be manipulated by how photographs …

Oct 19, 2020: Gatekeepers of opportunity and the lottery of privilege Despite starting out as a pejorative term, 'meritocracy' is something that, until recently, few people seem to have had a problem with. One of the …

Oct 18, 2020: Tedious sports This made me smile: You can divide most sports into those that take place in the real world (road cycling, sailing, cross country running) and those …

Oct 18, 2020: Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed 👻 How to hide from a drone – the subtle art of ‘ghosting’ in the age of surveillance ♻️ How to Repurpose Your Old Gadgets 🎮 What Digital Doping Means …

Oct 18, 2020: Biometric surveillance in a post-pandemic future I woke up today to the news that, in the UK, the police will get access to to the data on people told to self-isolate on a 'case-by-case basis'. As …

Oct 17, 2020: Ethics is the result of the human will Sabelo Mhlambi is a computer scientist, researcher and Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He focuses on the ethical …

Oct 17, 2020: Even while a thing is in the act of coming into existence, some part of it has already ceased to be 💻 Zoom and gloom 🤖 ‘Machines set loose to slaughter’: the dangerous rise of military AI 📏 Wittgenstein’s Ruler: When Our Opinions Speak More About Us …

Oct 17, 2020: Forward momentum above all things This page on a Brian Eno fan site was re-shared on Hacker News this week. It features text from an email from Eno himself, explaining why, although …

Oct 17, 2020: We all think we are exceptional, and are surprised to find ourselves criticised just like anyone else 🏞️ To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks 👶 Babies' random choices become their preferences 😨 Dystopia as Clickbait: Science Fiction, …

Oct 11, 2020: Scenario planning, climate change, and the pandemic Tim O'Reilly is a funny character. Massively talented and influential, but his political views (broadly right libertarian) seem to mean he miss things …

Oct 10, 2020: At times, our strengths propel us so far forward we can no longer endure our weaknesses and perish from them 🤑 We can’t have billionaires and stop climate change 📹 How to make video calls almost as good as face-to-face ⏱️ How to encourage your team to launch …

Oct 9, 2020: Reducing exam stress by removing pointless exams In the UK, it used to be the case that children could leave school at 16. This was the reason for 'O' levels (which my parents took), and GCSEs, which …

Oct 9, 2020: The clever man often worries; the loyal person is often overworked 👏 Blue sky thinking: is it time to stop work taking over our lives? 👍 Attitudes are skills 🤦‍♂️ How Not To Kill People With Spreadsheets 🕸️ Viral …

Oct 3, 2020: Like the flight of a sparrow through a lighted hall, from darkness into darkness ⛅Finding the Silver Lining in 2020 — 10 Developments in Online and Remote Education That Make Us Hopeful ⚽ Is it too late to halt football’s final …

Oct 3, 2020: Face-to-face university classes during a pandemic? Why? Earlier in my career, when I worked for Jisc, I was based at Northumbria University in Newcastle. It's just been announced that 770 students there …

Oct 2, 2020: 'Rulesy' people Some people in the world want to fit in. Others want to change it. Still others want to fit in by changing it. Robin Hanson has a theory about how …

Oct 1, 2020: The importance of co-operation Quoting Stephen Downes in the introduction to his post, Harold Jarche goes on to explain: Managing in complex adaptive systems means influencing …

Oct 1, 2020: One is not superior merely because one sees the world in an odious light 😷 “Wear The Mask” poster now available as free download 🐙 How To Win Any Debate 🤔 Irish court rules Subway bread is not bread 🚀 Jet suit paramedic …

Sep 28, 2020: How to give advice A great metaphor from a fantastic article: Suppose you are holding a ball in your hand inside a moving train. From your frame of reference, the ball …

Sep 28, 2020: The truth is too simple: one must always get there by a complicated route 😍 Drone Awards 2020: the world seen from above 😷 Adequate Vitamin D Levels Cuts Risk Of Dying From Covid-19 In Half, Study Finds 🔊 The BBC is …

Sep 25, 2020: The crisis in professional sport is one of its own making I couldn't agree more with this analysis from Barney Ronay, one of my favourite sports writers: Professional sport is facing a crisis of unprecedented …

Sep 25, 2020: If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can be very creative about it 🌱 From garden streets to bike highways: four ideas for post-Covid cities – visualised 💰 Should Employers Cut Your Salary If You Change Cities? 🏂 …

Sep 24, 2020: The discourse of disruption Adrian Daub, a professor of literature, takes issue with the tech sector's focus on disruption: Most of the discourse around disruption clearly draws …

Sep 24, 2020: Let's talk Wise words from Seth Godin: Universities and local schools are in crisis with testing in disarray and distant learning ineffective… [When can we talk …

Sep 23, 2020: An ounce of good sense is worth a pound of subtlety 🎨 The Opposite Of ‘Crappy Design’ 🙄 In Convenience We Trust 😳 How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole 🤯 The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be …

Sep 20, 2020: Entirely predictable We've had some pretty bad governments in the UK during my lifetime, but has any been so underqualified, so inept, corrupt, and nepotistic as our …

Sep 19, 2020: Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras (The Verge) In the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, New Jersey …

Sep 19, 2020: Privilege and pandemic I found this via Mastodon and immediately had to post it here. I'm not sure about the original artist, but it struck me as capturing our current …

Sep 19, 2020: The future of closed, proprietary technology is within your body Referencing a recent article in The New York Times, and using a metaphor from his honeymoon in Cancun, Purism's Chief Security Officer raises some …

Sep 18, 2020: Pandemic microaggressions This article primarily focuses on racism and intolerance to gender differences, but even as a "white, male... heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied, …

Sep 17, 2020: The most radical thing you can do is stay home 🐱 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020 finalists revealed 😂 Extinction Rebellion 'go floppy' when arrested, complains senior Met officer 😮 Birthday …

Sep 17, 2020: Consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance My go-to explanation of acceptable political opinions is usually the Overton Window, but this week I came across Hallin's spheres: Hallin's spheres is …

Sep 15, 2020: One nation under Zuck This image, from Grayson Perry, is incredible. As he points out in the accompanying article, he's chosen the US due to an upcoming series of his, but …

Sep 15, 2020: Things Come Apart /via Todd McLellan, Things Come Apart

Sep 13, 2020: More advice on perfectionism A few years ago I read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, which is even better than people say. I was reminded of this quotation via Oliver Burkeman's Help! …

Sep 13, 2020: To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others 🧠 Your Brain Is On the Brink of Chaos 😫 ‘Ugh fields’, or why you can’t even bear to think about that task 👍 The Craft of Teaching Confidence 🏝️ Log …

Sep 13, 2020: 'Recycling' plastic is an oil industry scam This NPR article about the oil industry's cynical manipulation of us when it comes to recycling plastic blew my mind 🤯 Here's the basic problem: All …

Sep 11, 2020: Lifequakes One way of thinking about the pandemic is as inevitable, and just one of a series of life-changing events that will happen to you during your time on …

Sep 10, 2020: As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of demand 💬 Welcome to the Next Level of Bullshit 📚 The Best Self-Help Books of the 21st Century 💊 A radical prescription to make work fit for the future 💰 How …

Sep 9, 2020: Inside your pain are the things you care about most deeply I listened to this episode of The Art of Manliness podcast a while back on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and found it excellent. I've …

Sep 8, 2020: The world needs less philanthropy and more equality I've been skeptical about the motives of philanthropic organisations for a while now. This article in The Guardian is a long read, but worth it. …

Sep 8, 2020: To be in process of change is not an evil, any more than to be the product of change is a good 🌐 Unlimited Information Is Transforming Society 🧠 Alternatives for the Internet: A Journey into Decentralised Network Architectures and Information …

Sep 8, 2020: Marcus Aurelius on troubles I really needed to read the following quotation this morning: Everything that happens is as normal and expected as the spring rose or the summer …

Sep 6, 2020: Enforced idleness Some people think it's the Protestant work ethic, others that it's a genetic predisposition. Me? I think it's to do with the highly competitive nature …

Sep 6, 2020: What is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above There is something very strange about walking up mountains only to come back down again. But I love it, as did the French surrealist poet, …

Sep 5, 2020: The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit of doing them 👋 Oliver Burkeman's last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life 😇 How to be indistractable 💃 One, two, free! 25 brilliant ways to …

Sep 4, 2020: Perfectionism is more toxic than you imagine As someone who struggles with perfectionism on a daily basis, I needed to read this morning: Perfectionism is more toxic than you imagine. Watch …

Sep 4, 2020: Rethinking human responses to adversity As a parent and former teacher I can get behind this: ADHD is not a disorder, the study authors argue. Rather it is an evolutionary mismatch to the …

Sep 3, 2020: 85 megapixel photo of the moon Incredible. /via ajamesmccarthy on Reddit

Sep 3, 2020: Pandemic-induced awkwardness By this point in the year, I would have travelled away from my home office at least once per month to see real, live 3D human beings who aren't other …

Sep 1, 2020: What man of energy does not find inactivity a punishment? 🤯 Understanding Consciousness with Color-Coded Cartoons 👍 Four-day working week could create 500K new jobs in UK, study says 💀 The World Memorial to …

Sep 1, 2020: Some changes to Thought Shrapnel TL;DR: Going forward, Thought Shrapnel will be a bit more random. One of the benefits of a pause in doing something for a while is that you get to …

Jul 25, 2020: Saturday spinnings As usual, I'm taking a month off Thought Shrapnel duties during the month of August. So this is my last post for a few weeks. In the meantime, …

Jul 18, 2020: Saturday sailings I deactivated my Twitter account this week. I've done that before, but this time I'm honestly not sure if I'll reactivate it. Given that I get a fair …

Jul 10, 2020: Friday fadings I'm putting this together quickly before heading off to the Lake District camping with my son for a couple of nights. I'm pretty close to burnout with …

Jul 4, 2020: Saturday shakings Whew, so many useful bookmarks to re-read for this week’s roundup! It took me a while, so let’s get on with it… What is the future of distributed …

Jul 3, 2020: Using WhatsApp is a (poor) choice that you make People often ask me about my stance on Facebook products. They can understand that I don't use Facebook itself, but what about Instagram? And surely I …

Jun 27, 2020: Saturday shoutings The link I'm most enthusiastic about sharing this week is one to a free email-based course I've created with my co-op colleagues. It's entitled The 7 …

Jun 23, 2020: The highest ambition of the integrated spectacle is to turn secret agents into revolutionaries and revolutionaries into secret agents This article is about, and quotes heavily from Guy Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle published twenty years after his 1967 Society of …

Jun 20, 2020: Saturday scrapings Every week, I go back through the links I've saved, pick out the best ones, and share them here. This week is perhaps even more eclectic than usual. …

Jun 17, 2020: Everyone has a mob self and an individual self, in varying proportions Digital mediation, decentralisation, and context collapse Is social media 'real life'? A recent Op-Ed in The New York Times certainly things so: An …

Jun 13, 2020: Saturday soundings Black Lives Matter. The money from this month's kind supporters of Thought Shrapnel has gone directly to the 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid …

May 30, 2020: Saturday shruggings I've got a proper Elgato green screen in my home office which I started using in earnest for virtual backgrounds this week. I'm quite fond of some of …

May 23, 2020: Saturday signalings I've been head-down doing lots of work this week, and then it's been Bank Holiday weekend, so my reading has been pretty much whatever my social media …

May 21, 2020: The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases Twitter, the Fediverse, and MoodleNet In a recent blog post, Twitter made a big deal of the fact that they are testing new conversation settings. …

May 16, 2020: Saturday shiftings I think this is the latest I've published my weekly roundup of links. That's partly because of an epic family walk we did today, but also because of …

May 14, 2020: Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say Post-pandemic surveillance culture Today's title comes from Edward Snowden, and is a pithy overview of the 'nothing to hide' argument that I guess …

May 9, 2020: Saturday seductions Having a Bank Holiday in the UK on a Friday has really thrown me this week. So apologies for this link roundup being a bit later than usual... I do …

May 8, 2020: Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony If we're looking for silver linings around the pandemic, then one startlingly big one is the time people have had to reflect on their lives. When …

May 2, 2020: Saturday scramblings I've spent a lot more time on Twitter recently, where my feed seems to be equal parts anger and indignation (especially at Andrew Adonis) on the one …

Apr 29, 2020: The old is dying and the new cannot be born Education for a post-pandemic future Welcome to the fourth instalment in this blog chain about post-pandemic society: People seem not to see that …

Apr 25, 2020: Saturday sandcastles The photos of brutalist sandcastles accompanying this week's link roundup made me both smile and really miss care-free walks on the beach. Although …

Apr 21, 2020: Thus each man ever flees himself There are some days during this current pandemic when, coccooned in my little bubble, I can forget for a few hours that the world has changed. …

Apr 18, 2020: Saturday scrubbings This week on Thought Shrapnel I've been focused on messing about with using OBS to create videos. So much, in fact, that this weekend I'm building a …

Apr 13, 2020: Creating and seeding your own torrents using archive.org and Transmission Update: fixed video! (no video above? click here!) I've been experimenting this Easter weekend, and today did an impromptu livestream via Periscope. …

Apr 12, 2020: 3 apps to help avoid post-pandemic surveillance culture [VIDEO] This is an experiment using a green screen and OBS. Let me know what you think!

Apr 10, 2020: Friday fashionings When sitting down to put together this week's round-up, which is coming to you slightly later than usual because of <gestures indeterminately all …

Apr 8, 2020: There is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it Mental health, imagination, and post-pandemic futures I guess, given that this is the third straight week I've written on the subject, that this could …

Apr 3, 2020: Friday forebodings I think it's alright to say that this was a week when my spirits dropped a little. Apologies if that's not what you wanted to hear right now, and if …

Mar 30, 2020: We have it in our power to begin the world over again UBI, GDP, and Libertarian Municipalism It's sobering to think that, in years to come, historians will probably refer to the 75 years between the end …

Mar 27, 2020: Friday flickerings I've tried to include some links here to other things here, but just like all roads read to Rome, all links eventually point to the pandemic. I hope …

Mar 25, 2020: People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character Actions, reactions, and what comes next We are, I would suggest, in a period of collective shock due to the pandemic. Of course, some people are …

Mar 13, 2020: Friday fumings My bet is that you've spent most of this week reading news about the global pandemic. Me too. That's why I decided to ensure it's not mentioned at all …

Mar 11, 2020: We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet Pandemics, remote work, and global phase shifts Last week, I tweeted this: I delete my tweets automatically every 30 days, hence the screenshot... I …

Mar 6, 2020: Friday filchings I'm having to write this ahead of time due to travel commitments. Still, there's the usual mixed bag of content in here, everything from digital …

Mar 2, 2020: What the crowd requires is mediocrity of the highest order What expectations do you have for your life? What were they aged seven? How about aged 17? Or 27? Did those expectations change? If so, why did they …

Feb 28, 2020: Friday fluidity I wasn't sure whether to share links about the Coronavirus this week, but obviously, like everyone else, I've been reading about it. Next week, my …

Feb 21, 2020: Friday facings This week's links seem to have a theme about faces and looking at them through screens. I'm not sure what that says about either my network, or my …

Feb 19, 2020: Thought Shrapnel Vol.1: Personal Productivity Loading... Inspired by Venkatesh Rao's Ribbonfarm Roughs series, I've decided to start creating ebooks, collecting together in one place the best …

Feb 17, 2020: New to Thought Shrapnel? Try this! I'm experimenting with turning articles from Thought Shrapnel into ebooks. Here's a sampler featuring five articles from this year so far. Thought …

Feb 14, 2020: Friday feelings It's Friday again, so I'm here trawling through not only the most interesting stuff that I've read this week, but also verbs that begin with the …

Feb 12, 2020: Microcast #086 — Strategies for dealing with surveillance capitalism Over the last year (at least) I've been talking about the dangers of surveillance capitalism. Stephen Haggard picked up on this and, after an email …

Feb 10, 2020: There are many non-essential activities, moths of precious time, and it's worse to take an interest in irrelevant things than do nothing at all I confess to not yet having read Elizabeth Emens' book The Art of Life Admin but it's definitely on my list to read this year. A recent BBC Worklife …

Feb 7, 2020: Friday flaggings As usual, a mixed bag of goodies, just like you used to get from your favourite sweet shop as a kid. Except I don't hold the bottom of the bag, so you …

Feb 5, 2020: Software ate the world, so all the world’s problems get expressed in software Benedict Evans recently posted his annual 'macro trends' slide deck. It's incredibly insightful, and work of (minimalist) art. This article's title …

Jan 31, 2020: Friday featherings Behold! The usual link round-up of interesting things I've read in the last week. Feel free to let me know if anything particularly resonated with you …

Jan 29, 2020: Microcast #085 — Extensions for Mozilla Firefox In the last quarter of 2019, I got rid of my Google Pixelbook and Chromebox, and switched full-time to Linux and Firefox. I still need to dip into …

Jan 27, 2020: To others we are not ourselves but a performer in their lives cast for a part we do not even know that we are playing Surveillance, technology, and society Last week, the London Metropolitan Police ('the Met') proudly announced that they've begun using 'LFR', which is …

Jan 24, 2020: Friday festoonings Check out these things I read and found interesting this week. Thanks to some positive feedback, I've carved out time for some commentary, and changed …

Jan 22, 2020: Microcast #084 - Chris Dixon on RSS, crypto, and community ownership of the internet I don't often listen to the a16z podcast but for some reason I decided to listen to an episode about the past, present, and future of the internet …

Jan 20, 2020: How you do anything is how you do everything So said Derek Sivers, although I suspect that, originally, it's probably a core principle of Zen Buddhism. In this article I want to talk about …

Jan 17, 2020: Friday foggings I've been travelling this week, so I've had plenty of time to read and digest a whole range of articles. In fact, because of the luxury of that extra …

Jan 16, 2020: Microcast #083 - Ambiguous in Kuwait City Some reflections on my digital literacies pre-conference workshop yesterday for AMICAL. Show notes Strategic approaches to the development of digital …

Jan 14, 2020: Given things as they are, how shall one individual live? ...asked Annie Dillard. It's a good question. Richard D. Bartlett, who I support via Patreon and who is better known as richdecibels, has started a …

Jan 10, 2020: Friday flurries It's been a busy week, but I've still found time to unearth these gems... The Dark Psychology of Social Networks (The Atlantic) — “The philosophers …

Jan 8, 2020: Microcast #082 - Nodenoggin This week, I've been delighted to be able to catch up with Adam Procter, academic, games designer, open advocate, and long-time supporter of Thought …

Jan 6, 2020: Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted So said Aldous Huxley. Recently, I discovered a episode of the podcast The Science of Success in which Dan Carlin was interviewed. Now Dan is the host …

Jan 3, 2020: Friday fertilisations I've read so much stuff over the past couple of months that it's been a real job whittling down these links. In the end I gave up and shared a few …

Jan 1, 2020: Microcast #081 - Anarchy, Federation, and the IndieWeb Happy New Year! It's good to be back. This week's microcast answers a question from John Johnston about federation and the IndieWeb. I also discuss …

Nov 9, 2019: Quick update! For approximately the last decade, I've had an annual hiatus from writing and social media, and focused on inputs rather than outputs. Sometimes …

Nov 1, 2019: Friday fablings I couldn't ignore these things this week: The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time (BuzzFeed News) — "Everything good, bad, and complicated flows through our …

Oct 30, 2019: Microcast #080 - Redecentralize and MozFest This week's microcast recaps my involvement in two events last weekend. Show notes Redecentralize conferenceOpen Space TechnologyPreventing abuse in …

Oct 25, 2019: Friday facilitations This week, je presente... We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe (Scientific American) — "The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter …

Oct 23, 2019: We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take us on or spare us So said Marcel Proust, that famous connoisseur of les petites madeleines. While I don't share his effete view of the world, I do like French cakes and …

Oct 22, 2019: Microcast #079 - information environments This week's microcast is about information environments, the difference between technical and 'people' skills, and sharing your experience. Show …

Oct 18, 2019: Friday flowerings Did you see these things this week? Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl (The Guardian) — "The furore …

Oct 17, 2019: Microcast #078 — Values-based organisations I've decided to post these microcasts, which I previously made available only through Patreon, here instead. Microcasts focus on what I've been up to …

Oct 16, 2019: I am not fond of expecting catastrophes, but there are cracks in the universe So said Sydney Smith. Let's talk about surveillance. Let's talk about surveillance capitalism and surveillance humanitarianism. But first, let's talk …

Oct 11, 2019: Friday fawnings On this week's rollercoaster journey, I came across these nuggets: Renata Ávila: “The Internet of creation disappeared. Now we have the Internet of …

Oct 7, 2019: People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think So said Neil Postman (via Jay Springett). Jay is one of a small number of people who's work I find particularly thoughtful and challenging. Another is …

Oct 4, 2019: Friday flexitarianism Check these links out and tell me which one you like best: The radical combination of degrowth and basic income (openDemocracy) — "One of the things …

Sep 30, 2019: Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work properly yet So said my namesake Douglas Adams. In fact, he said lots of wise things about technology, most of them too long to serve as a title. I'm in a weird …

Sep 27, 2019: Friday fluctuations Have a quick skim through these links that I came across this week and found interesting: Overrated: Ludwig Wittgenstein (Standpoint) — …

Sep 23, 2019: It’s not a revolution if nobody loses Thanks to Clay Shirky for today's title. It's true, isn't it? You can't claim something to be a true revolution unless someone, some organisation, or …

Sep 21, 2019: Saturday strikings This week's roundup is going out a day later than usual, as yesterday was the Global Climate Strike and Thought Shrapnel was striking too! Here's what …

Sep 16, 2019: All is petty, inconstant, and perishable So said Marcus Aurelius. Today's short article is about what happens after you die. We're all aware of the importance of making a will, particularly …

Sep 13, 2019: Friday fermentations I boiled the internet and this was what remained: I Quit Social Media for a Year and Nothing Magical Happened (Josh C. Simmons) — "A lot of social …

Sep 9, 2019: If you change nothing, nothing will change What would you do if you knew you had 24 hours left to live? I suppose it would depend on context. Is this catastrophe going to affect everyone, or …

Sep 6, 2019: Friday feudalism Check out these things I discovered this week, and wanted to pass along: Study shows some political beliefs are just historical accidents (Ars …

Sep 2, 2019: To refrain from imitation is the best revenge Today's title comes from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, which regular readers of my writing will know I read on repeat. George Herbert, the English …

Aug 30, 2019: Friday floutings Did you see these things this week? I did, and thought they were aces. Do you live in a ‘soft city’? Here’s why you probably want to (Fast Company) — …

Aug 28, 2019: The best way out is always through So said Robert Frost, but I want to begin with the ending of a magnificent post from Kate Bowles. She expresses clearly how I feel sometimes when I …

Aug 23, 2019: Friday flinchings Here's a distillation of the best of what I've been reading over the last three weeks: The new left economics: how a network of thinkers is …

Aug 19, 2019: It is the child within us that trembles before death So said Plato in his Phaedo. I've just returned from a holiday, much of which was dominated by finding out that a good friend of mine had passed away. …

Aug 2, 2019: Friday fizzles I head off on holiday tomorrow! Before I go, check out these highlights from this week's reading and research: “Things that were considered worthless …

Jul 29, 2019: The best place to be is somewhere else? So said Albarran Cabrera, except I added a cheeky question mark. I have a theory. Not a grand, unifying theory of everything, but a theory …

Jul 26, 2019: Friday fidgetings These things popped into my consciousness this week: Soon, satellites will be able to watch you everywhere all the time (MIT Technology Review) — …

Jul 22, 2019: Neoliberalism in any guise is not the solution but the problem Today's quotation-as-title is from Nancy Fraser, whose short book The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born in turn gets its title from a quotation …

Jul 19, 2019: Friday federations These things piqued my interest this week: You Should Own Your Favorite Books in Hard Copy (Lifehacker) — "Most importantly, when you keep physical …

Jul 16, 2019: The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge So said Daniel J. Boorstin. It's been an interesting week for those, like me, who follow the development of interaction between humans and machines. …

Jul 12, 2019: Friday ferretings These things jumped out at me this week: Deepfakes will influence the 2020 election—and our economy, and our prison system (Quartz) ⁠— “The problem …

Jul 8, 2019: Do not impose one's own standard on the work of others. Mutual moderation and cooperation will proffer better results. I think I must have come across the above saying from Hsing Yun via Mayel de Borniol. It captures some of what I want to discuss in this article which …

Jul 5, 2019: Friday frustrations I couldn't help but notice these things this week: Don’t ask forgiveness, radiate intent (Elizabeth Ayer) ⁠— "I certainly don’t need a reputation as …

Jul 2, 2019: Aren’t you ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnants of your life and to dedicate to wisdom only that time can’t be directed to business? Once you remove the specific details from the lives of the ancients, their lives were remarkably like ours. Take today's title, for example, which is …

Jun 28, 2019: Friday feeds These things caught my eye this week: Some of your talents and skills can cause burnout. Here’s how to identify them (Fast Company) — "You didn’t mess …

Jun 25, 2019: Ensuring the sustainability of Thought Shrapnel Over the last couple of months, after coming back from a hiatus over Lent, I've really poured my free time into Thought Shrapnel. My hope was that, by …

Jun 25, 2019: Ensuring the sustainability of Thought Shrapnel Over the last couple of months, after coming back from a hiatus over Lent, I've really poured my free time into Thought Shrapnel. My hope was that, by …

Jun 24, 2019: Our nature is such that the common duties of human relationships occupy a great part of the course of our life Michel de Montaigne, one of my favourite writers, had a very good friend, a 'soulmate' in the form of Étienne de la Boétie. He seems to have been …

Jun 21, 2019: Friday fancies These are some things I came across this week that made me smile: The fake French minister in a silicone mask who stole millions (BBC News) — "For two …

Jun 20, 2019: The world is all variation and dissimilarity Another quotation-as-title from Michel de Montaigne. I'm using it today, as I want to write a composite post based on a tweet I put out yesterday …

Jun 19, 2019: The habit of sardonic contemplation is the hardest habit of all to break Angela Carter with the story of my life there. I can't help but be skeptical about 'Libra', Facebook's new crytocurrency project. I'm skeptical about …

Jun 18, 2019: To be perfectly symmetrical is to be perfectly dead So said Igor Stravinsky. I'm a little behind on my writing, and prioritised writing up my experiences in the Lake District over the past couple of …

Jun 17, 2019: Life doesn’t depend on any one opinion, any one custom, or any one century Baltasar Gracián was a 17th-century Spanish Jesuit who put together a book of aphorisms usually translated The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence or …

Jun 14, 2019: Friday feastings These are things I came across that piqued my attention: What do cats do all day? (The Kid Should See This) — "Catcam footage from collar cameras …

Jun 13, 2019: Even in their sleep men are at work For today's title I've used Marcus Aurelius' more concise, if unfortunately gendered, paraphrasing of a slightly longer quotation from Heraclitus. …

Jun 12, 2019: The proper amount of wealth is that which neither descends to poverty nor is far distant from it So said Seneca, in a quotation I found via the consistently-excellent New Philosopher magazine. In my experience, 'wealth' is a relative concept. I've …

Jun 11, 2019: Situations can be described but not given names So said that most enigmatic of philosophers, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Today's article is about the effect of external stimulants on us as human beings, …

Jun 10, 2019: There’s no perfection where there’s no selection So said Baltasar Gracián. One of the reasons that e-portfolios never really took off was because there's so much to read. Can you imagine sifting …

Jun 7, 2019: Friday fathomings I enjoyed reading these: Apple created the privacy dystopia it wants to save you from (Fast Company) — I'm not sure I agree with either the title or …

Jun 6, 2019: There’s no viagra for enlightenment This quotation from the enigmatic Russell Brand seemed appropriate for the subject of today's article: the impact of so-called 'deepfakes' on …

Jun 5, 2019: Wretched is a mind anxious about the future So said one of my favourite non-fiction authors, the 16th century proto-blogger Michel de Montaigne. There's plenty of writing about how we need to be …

Jun 4, 2019: Only thoughts conceived while walking have any value Philosopher and intrepid walker Friedrich Nietzsche is well known for today's quotation-as-title. Fellow philosopher Immanuel Kant was a keen walker, …

Jun 3, 2019: What is no good for the hive is no good for the bee So said Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. In this article, I want to apply that to our use of technology as well as the stories we …

May 31, 2019: Friday fabrications These things made me sit up and take notice: Britain's equivalent to Tutankhamun found in Southend-on-Sea (The Guardian) — "Gold foil crosses were …

May 30, 2019: Men fear wanderers for they have no rules A few years ago, when I was at Mozilla, a colleague mentioned a series of books by Bernard Cornwell called The Last Kingdom. It seemed an obvious fit …

May 29, 2019: We give nothing so generously as our advice Thanks François de La Rochefoucauld, but despite the above title coming from you (c.1678) , this post is actually inspired by Warren Ellis. I …

May 28, 2019: Man must choose whether to be rich in things or in the freedom to use them So said Ivan Illich. Another person I can imagine saying that is Diogenes the Cynic, perhaps my favourite philosopher of all time. He famously lived …

May 27, 2019: We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves Today's title comes from John Berger's Ways of Seeing, which is an incredible book. Soon after the above quotation, he continues, The eye of the other …

May 24, 2019: Friday fumblings These were the things I came across this week that made me smile: Why Do You Grab Your Bag When Running Off a Burning Plane? (The New York Times) — it …

May 23, 2019: One can see only what one has already seen Fernando Pessoa with today's quotation-as-title. He's best known for The Book of Disquiet which he called "a factless autobiography". It's... odd. …

May 22, 2019: Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again Today's title comes courtesy of Nobel prize winner André Gide. For those with children reading this, you've probably got a wry smile on your face. …

May 21, 2019: Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present Thanks to Seneca for today's quotation, taken from his still-all-too-relevant On the Shortness of Life. We're constantly being told that we need …

May 20, 2019: Idleness always produces fickle changes of mind If you've never read Michel de Montaigne's Essays then you're missing a treat. He's thought of as the prototypical 'blogger' and most of what he's …

May 17, 2019: Friday finds Check out these links that I came across this week and thought you'd find interesting: Netflix Saves Our Kids From Up To 400 Hours of Commercials a …

May 16, 2019: The school system is a modern phenomenon, as is the childhood it produces Good old Ivan Illich with today's quotation-as-title. If you haven't read his Deschooling Society yet, you must. Given actions speak louder than …

May 15, 2019: Form is the possibility of structure The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein with today's quotation-as-title. I'm using it as a way in to discuss some things around city planning, and in …

May 14, 2019: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving Thanks to Einstein for today's quote-as-title. Having once again witnessed the joy of electric scooters in Lisbon recently, I thought I'd look at this …

May 13, 2019: That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate Today's title is quotation from Carl Jung, via a recent issue of New Philosopher magazine. I thought it was a useful frame for a discussion around a …

May 10, 2019: Fascinating Friday Facts Here's some links I thought I'd share which struck me as interesting: Wet Plate Photography Makes Tattoos Disappear (PetaPixel) — the photographic …

May 9, 2019: There is no exercise of the intellect which is not, in the final analysis, useless A quotation from a short story from Jorge Luis Borges' Labyrinths provides the title for today's article. I want to dig into the work of danah boyd …

May 8, 2019: Sometimes even to live is an act of courage Thank you to Seneca for the quotation for today's title, which sprang to mind after reading Rosie Spinks' claim in Quartz that we've reached 'peak …

May 7, 2019: Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things I'm fond of the above quotation by Douglas Adams that I've used for the title of this article. It serves as a reminder to myself that I've now reached …

May 6, 2019: The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention Thanks to John Burroughs for today's title. For me, it's an oblique reference to some of the situations I find myself in, both in my professional and …

May 3, 2019: A little Friday randomness Not everything I read and bookmark to come back to is serious. So here for the sake of a little levity, are some things I've discovered recently that …

May 2, 2019: Educational institutions are at a crossroads of relevance One of the things that attracted me to the world of Open Badges and digital credentialing back in 2011 was the question of relevance. As a Philosophy …

May 1, 2019: Remote work is a different beast You might not work remotely right now, but the chances are that at some point in your career, and in some capacity, you will do. Remote work has its …

Apr 30, 2019: Culture eats strategy for breakfast The title of this post is a quotation from management consultant, educator, and author Peter Drucker. Having worked in a variety of organisations, I …

Apr 29, 2019: Things that people think are wrong (but aren't) I've collected a bunch of diverse articles that seem to be around the topic of things that people think are wrong, but aren't really. Hence the title. …

Apr 26, 2019: Cutting the Gordian knot of 'screen time' Let's start this with an admission: my wife and I limit our children's time on their tablets, and they're only allowed on our games console at …

Apr 25, 2019: The benefits of Artificial Intelligence As an historian, I’m surprisingly bad at recalling facts and dates. However, I’d argue that the study of history is actually about the …

Apr 24, 2019: The drawbacks of Artificial Intelligence It’s really interesting to do philosophical thought experiments with kids. For example, the trolley problem, a staple of undergradate Philosophy …

Apr 23, 2019: Opting in and out of algorithms It's now over seven years since I submitted my doctoral thesis on digital literacies. Since then, almost the entire time my daughter has been alive, …

Apr 22, 2019: Let's not force children to define their future selves through the lens of 'work' I discovered the work of Adam Grant through Jocelyn K. Glei's excellent Hurry Slowly podcast. He has his own, equally excellent podcast, called …

Apr 20, 2019: How to subscribe to Thought Shrapnel Daily From Monday I'll be publishing Thought Shrapnel Daily five times per week. Patreon supporters get immediate and exclusive access to those updates for …

Mar 5, 2019: Giving up Thought Shrapnel for Lent Recently, the Slack-based book club I started has been reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. His writing made me consider giving up my …

Mar 5, 2019: Giving up Thought Shrapnel for Lent Recently, the Slack-based book club I started has been reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. His writing made me consider giving up my …

Mar 1, 2019: Human societies, hierarchy, and networks Human societies and cultures are complex and messy. That means if we want to even begin to start understanding them, we need to simplify. This …

Mar 1, 2019: The introvert's dilemma I’m more of an ambivert (“like ambidextrous but with personality”) but I definitely feel where Jessica Hagy is coming from with this …

Mar 1, 2019: Success and enthusiasm (quote) “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)

Feb 25, 2019: Foldable displays are going to make the future pretty amazing I was in Barcelona on Thursday and Friday last week, right before the start of Mobile World Congress. There were pop-up stores and booths everywhere, …

Feb 23, 2019: So you think you're organised? This lengthy blog post from Stephen Wolfram, founder and CEO of Wolfram Research is not only incredible in its detail, but reveals the author’s …

Feb 23, 2019: So you think you're organised? This lengthy blog post from Stephen Wolfram, founder and CEO of Wolfram Research is not only incredible in its detail, but reveals the author’s …

Feb 22, 2019: Blockchains: not so 'unhackable' after all? As I wrote earlier this month, blockchain technology is not about trust, it’s about distrust. So we shouldn’t be surprised in such an …

Feb 22, 2019: Blockchains: not so 'unhackable' after all? As I wrote earlier this month, blockchain technology is not about trust, it’s about distrust. So we shouldn’t be surprised in such an …

Feb 22, 2019: Open Badges and ADCs As someone who’s been involved with Open Badges since 2012, I’m always interested in the ebbs and flows of the language around their …

Feb 22, 2019: Open Badges and ADCs As someone who’s been involved with Open Badges since 2012, I’m always interested in the ebbs and flows of the language around their …

Feb 22, 2019: On anger (quote) “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. They can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by them.” …

Feb 22, 2019: On anger (quote) “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. They can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by them.” …

Feb 15, 2019: What UK children are watching (and why) There were only 40 children as part of this Ofcom research, and (as far as I can tell) none were in the North East of England where I live. …

Feb 14, 2019: Individual steps to tackle climate change Tomorrow, pupils at some schools in the UK will walk out and join protests around climate change. There are none in my local area of which I’m …

Feb 13, 2019: Games (and learning) mechanics The average age of those who play video games? Early thirties, and rising. So, I’m happy to say that purchasing Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of …

Feb 13, 2019: Games (and learning) mechanics The average age of those who play video games? Early thirties, and rising. So, I’m happy to say that purchasing Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of …

Feb 13, 2019: Is edtech even a thing any more? Until recently, Craig Taylor included the following in his Twitter bio: Dreaming of a day when we can drop the e from elearning and the m from mobile …

Feb 12, 2019: Optimise for energy and motivation While this post has a clickbait-y subtitle (‘Why I quit a $500K job at Amazon to work for myself’) it nevertheless makes an important …

Feb 12, 2019: Process and product of change (quote) “To be in process of change is not an evil, any more than to be the product of change is a good.” (Marcus Aurelius)

Feb 9, 2019: Tenacious will (quote) “Your will must be tenacious, not your judgement.” (Baltasar Gracián)

Feb 8, 2019: Why the internet is less weird these days I can remember sneakily accessing the web when I was about fifteen. It was a pretty crazy place, the likes of which you only really see these days in …

Feb 7, 2019: Dis-trust and blockchain technologies Serge Ravet is a deep thinker, a great guy, and a tireless advocate of Open Badges. In the first of a series of posts on his Learning Futures blog he …

Feb 5, 2019: Why it's so hard to quit Big Tech I’m writing this on a Google Pixelbook. Earlier this evening I wiped it, fully intending to install Linux on it, and then… meh. Partly, …

Feb 5, 2019: Why it's so hard to quit Big Tech I’m writing this on a Google Pixelbook. Earlier this evening I wiped it, fully intending to install Linux on it, and then… meh. Partly, …

Feb 4, 2019: Let's (not) let children get bored again Is boredom a good thing? Is there a direct link between having nothing to do and being creative? I’m not sure. Pamela Paul, writing in The New …

Feb 3, 2019: The robot economy and social-emotional skills Ben Williamson writes: The steady shift of the knowledge economy into a robot economy, characterized by machine learning, artificial intelligence, …

Feb 1, 2019: At the end of the day, everything in life is a 'group project' I like to surround myself with doers, people who are happy, like me, to roll their sleeves up and get stuff done. Unfortunately, there’s plenty …

Jan 31, 2019: Make art, tell a story As detailed here, our co-op decided last week to lift our sights, expand our vision, and represent ourselves more holistically. So when I stumbled …

Jan 31, 2019: Make art, tell a story As detailed here, our co-op decided last week to lift our sights, expand our vision, and represent ourselves more holistically. So when I stumbled …

Jan 31, 2019: Fun smartphone-based party games At our co-op meetup last week, once we’d got business out of the way for the day, we decided to play some games. Bryan’s got a projector …

Jan 31, 2019: Fun smartphone-based party games At our co-op meetup last week, once we’d got business out of the way for the day, we decided to play some games. Bryan’s got a projector …

Jan 29, 2019: Cal Newport on the dangers of 'techno-maximalism' I have to say that I was not expecting to enjoy Cal Newport’s book Deep Work when I read it a couple of years ago. As someone who’s always …

Jan 29, 2019: Staying for nothing and shrinking from nothing (quote) “If you do the task before you always adhering to strict reason with zeal and energy and yet with humanity, disregarding all lesser ends and …

Jan 25, 2019: Through the looking-glass Earlier this month, George Dyson, historian of technology and author of books including Darwin Among the Machines, published an article at Edge.org. …

Jan 25, 2019: Surfacing popular Google Sheets to create simple web apps I was struck by the huge potential impact of this idea from Marcel van Remmerden: Here is a simple but efficient way to spot Enterprise Software ideas …

Jan 25, 2019: Federico Leggio's type animations These type animations by Federico Leggio, a freelance graphic designer based in Sicily, are incredible: Source: Federico Leggio (via Dense Discovery)

Jan 23, 2019: Volume of work This definitely speaks to me: Quantity has a quality all its own as Lenin said. The sheer volume of your work is what works as a signal of weirdness, …

Jan 23, 2019: What did the web used to be like? One of the things it’s easy to forget when you’ve been online for the last 20-plus years is that not everyone is in the same boat. Not …

Jan 23, 2019: Hong Kong shutter art After never having visited Barcelona before November 2017, in the subsequent 12 months following, I went there five times. One of the things that …

Jan 22, 2019: True test of intelligence (quote) "The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how to behave when we don’t know what to do." (John Holt)

Jan 21, 2019: Hierarchies and large organisations This 2008 post by Paul Graham, re-shared on Hacker News last week, struck a chord: What's so unnatural about working for a big company? The root of …

Jan 20, 2019: Exit option democracy This week saw the launch of a new book by Shoshana Zuboff entitled The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: the fight for a human future at the new …

Jan 18, 2019: Drink Talk Learn I’ve been to many a TeachMeet, some where alcohol has been involved. But this sounds even more fun: Source: BuzzFeed (via Ian Usher)  

Jan 18, 2019: Implicit leverage Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution asks how well we understand the organisations we work with and for: Most (not all) organizations have forms of …

Jan 18, 2019: Blockchain is about trust minimisation I’ve always laughed when people talk about ‘trust’ and blockchain. Sometimes I honestly question whether blockchain boosters live in …

Jan 18, 2019: Forging better habits I’m very much looking forward to reading James Clear’s new book Atomic Habits. On his (very popular) blog, Clear shares a chapter in which …

Jan 18, 2019: A reminder of how little we understand the world "The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them." (William Lawrence Bragg) Science …

Jan 18, 2019: The quixotic fools of imperialism As an historian with an understanding of our country’s influence of the world over the last few hundred years, I look back at the British Empire …

Jan 15, 2019: Noise cancelling for cars is a no-brainer We’re all familiar with noise cancelling headphones. I’ve got some that I use for transatlantic trips, and they’re great for …

Jan 15, 2019: Going your own way (quote) “To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

Jan 14, 2019: Location data in old tweets What use are old tweets? Do you look back through them? If not, then they’re only useful to others, who are able to data mine you using a new …

Jan 11, 2019: Remembering the past through photos A few weeks ago, I bought a Google Assistant-powered smart display and put it in our kitchen in place of the DAB radio. It has the added bonus of …

Jan 10, 2019: Acoustic mirrors On the beach at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, near where I live, there are large blocks in various intervals. These hulking pieces of concrete, now …

Jan 9, 2019: Unpopular opinions on personal productivity Before Christmas, I stumbled upon an interesting Twitter thread. It was started by Andrew Chen, General Partner at a16z, who asked: What is your least …

Jan 8, 2019: Confusing tech questions Today is the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas. Each year, tech companies showcase their latest offerings and concepts. …

Jan 8, 2019: Feeling good (quote) “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” (Jerry West)

Jan 8, 2019: Creativity as an ongoing experiment It’s hard not to be inspired by the career of the Icelandic artist Björk. She really does seem to be single-minded and determined to express …

Jan 7, 2019: Murmurations Starlings where I live in Northumberland, England, also swarm like this, but not in so many numbers. I love the way that we give interesting names to …

Jan 5, 2019: Fanatics (quote) “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” (Winston Churchill)

Jan 5, 2019: The problem with Business schools This article is from April 2018, but was brought to my attention via Harold Jarche’s excellent end-of-year roundup. Business schools have huge …

Jan 4, 2019: Working and leading remotely As MoodleNet Lead, I’m part of a remote team. If you look at the org chart, I’m nominally the manager of the other three members of my …

Jan 3, 2019: Rules for Online Sanity It’s funny: we tell kids not to be mean to one another, and then immediately jump on social media to call people out and divide ourselves into …

Jan 3, 2019: Baseline levels of conscientiousness As I mentioned on New Years' Day, I’ve decided to trade some of my privacy for convenience, and am now using the Google Assistant on a regular …

Jan 2, 2019: The endless Black Friday of the soul This article by Ruth Whippman appears in the New York Times, so focuses on the US, but the main thrust is applicable on a global scale: When we think …

Jan 2, 2019: Blockchain bullshit I’m sure blockchain technologies are going to revolutionise some sectors. But it’s not a consumer-facing solution; its applications are …

Jan 1, 2019: Social mobility This diagram by Jessica Hagy is a fantastic visual reminder to stay curious: Source: Indexed

Jan 1, 2019: Looking back and forward in tech Looking back at 2018, Amber Thomas commented that, for her, a few technologies became normalised over the course of the year: Phone payments …

Nov 30, 2018: See you in 2019! Thought Shrapnel will be back next year. Until then, unless you’re a supporter, that’s it for 2018. Thanks for reading, and have a good …

Nov 22, 2018: Routine and ambition (quote) “Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” (W.H. Auden)

Nov 21, 2018: Is the unbundling and rebundling of Higher Education actually a bad thing? Until I received my doctorate and joined the Mozilla Foundation in 2012, I’d spent fully 27 years in formal education. Either as a student, a …

Nov 20, 2018: Credentials and standardisation Someone pinch me, because I must be dreaming. It’s 2018, right? So why are we still seeing this kind of article about Open Badges and digital …

Nov 20, 2018: Are we nearing the end of the Facebook era? Betteridge’s law of headlines states that “any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” So perhaps I …

Nov 17, 2018: Asking Google philosophical questions Writing in The Guardian, philosopher Julian Baggini reflects on a recent survey which asked people what they wish Google was able to answer: The top …

Nov 15, 2018: Gamifying Wikipedia for new editors Hands up who uses Wikipedia? OK, keep your hands up if you edit it too? Ah. Not only does Wikipedia need our financial donations to keep running, it …

Nov 14, 2018: Daily routine (quote) “The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.” (John C. Maxwell)

Nov 13, 2018: The many uses of autonomous vehicles While I’m not a futurist, I am interested in predictions about the future that I didn’t expect… but, on reflection, are entirely …

Nov 9, 2018: Open source is as much about culture as it is about code The talented Abby Cabunoc Mayes, who I worked with when I was at the Mozilla Foundation (and who I caught up with briefly at MozFest), was interviewed …

Nov 7, 2018: What are 'internet-era ways of working'? Tom Loosemore, formerly of the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) and Co-op Digital has founded a new organisation that advises governments large …

Nov 7, 2018: What are 'internet-era ways of working'? Tom Loosemore, formerly of the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) and Co-op Digital has founded a new organisation that advises governments large …

Nov 5, 2018: Is UBI 'hush money'? Over the last few years, I’ve been quietly optimistic about Universal Basic Income, or ‘UBI’. It’s an approach that seems to …

Nov 5, 2018: Is UBI 'hush money'? Over the last few years, I’ve been quietly optimistic about Universal Basic Income, or ‘UBI’. It’s an approach that seems to …

Nov 4, 2018: Issue [#323]: 46 hours in transit The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Nov 1, 2018: Nature of things (quote) “One cannot in the nature of things expect a little tree that has been turned into a club to put forth leaves.” (Martin Buber)

Nov 1, 2018: Identity is a pattern in time When I was an undergraduate at Sheffield University, one of my Philosophy modules (quite appropriately) blew my mind. Entitled Mind, Brain and …

Nov 1, 2018: Identity is a pattern in time When I was an undergraduate at Sheffield University, one of my Philosophy modules (quite appropriately) blew my mind. Entitled Mind, Brain and …

Oct 31, 2018: An app to close down your workday effectively In Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, he talks about the importance of closing down your working day properly, so you can enjoy leisure time. Ovidiu …

Oct 31, 2018: An app to close down your workday effectively In Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, he talks about the importance of closing down your working day properly, so you can enjoy leisure time. Ovidiu …

Oct 30, 2018: Immortality and Sunday afternoons (quote) “Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” (Susan Ertz)

Oct 30, 2018: Immortality and Sunday afternoons (quote) “Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” (Susan Ertz)

Oct 30, 2018: CUNY Commons in a Box OpenLab Earlier this year, at the Open Education Global conference in Delft, I went to a session where members of staff from CUNY talked about ‘Commons …

Oct 30, 2018: CUNY Commons in a Box OpenLab Earlier this year, at the Open Education Global conference in Delft, I went to a session where members of staff from CUNY talked about ‘Commons …

Oct 28, 2018: Time's brevity (quote) “Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.” (Jean de La Bruyère)

Oct 28, 2018: Issue [#322]: Back-to-back The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Oct 25, 2018: Openness, sharing, and choosing a CC license The prolific Alan Levine wrote recently about licenses, and how really they’re not the be-all and end-all of sharing openly: If we just focus on …

Oct 25, 2018: Tennessee Williams on the problems that come with success I can’t remember now where I came across this link to a 1947 essay entitled ‘The Catastrophe of Success’ written by Tennessee …

Oct 25, 2018: What would you do if you were the richest man in the world? Now you can find out! This is simultaneously amusing and horrifying: A simple text-based adventure exploring the age-old question: What would you do if you had more money …

Oct 25, 2018: Configuring your iPhone for productivity (and privacy, security?) At an estimated read time of 70 minutes, though, this article is the longest I’ve seen on Medium! It includes a bunch of advice from …

Oct 25, 2018: Time flies (quote) The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. (Michael Altshuler)

Oct 23, 2018: Designing calm products As I mentioned on last week’s TIDE podcast, recorded live in the Lake District, this article from Amber Case about designing calm products is …

Oct 23, 2018: Wishing and planning (quote) “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Oct 22, 2018: Is planning just guessing? Eylan Ezekiel pointed to this post on the Signal v. Noise blog recently on our Slack channel. The CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried, points out that most …

Oct 22, 2018: Is planning just guessing? Eylan Ezekiel pointed to this post on the Signal v. Noise blog recently on our Slack channel. The CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried, points out that most …

Oct 21, 2018: Issue [#321]: Small talk and tiny conferences The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Oct 18, 2018: Absorb what is useful (quote) “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.” (Bruce Lee)

Oct 18, 2018: Decentralisation and networked agency I came to know of Ton Zylstra through some work I did with Jeroen de Boer and the Bibliotheekservice Fryslân team in the Netherlands last year. While …

Oct 18, 2018: Are tiny conferences and meetups better than big ones? Over a decade ago, a few Scottish educators got together in a pub for a meetup. This spawned something that is still going to this day: the TeachMeet. …

Oct 17, 2018: Small talk and sociability I admit it, I’m not amazing at what’s often referred to as ‘small talk’. I’m getting better, though, perhaps because I …

Oct 14, 2018: Issue [#320]: The power of appreciation The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Oct 12, 2018: The majority (quote) "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." (Mark Twain)

Oct 12, 2018: Co-operation and anti-social punishment in different societies I find this absolutely fascinating. It turns out that some societies actively ‘punish’ those who engage in collaborative and co-operative …

Oct 12, 2018: How do people learn? I was looking forward to digging into a new book from the US National Academies Press, which is freely downloadable in return for a (fake?) email …

Oct 12, 2018: Reappropriating the artifacts of late-stage capitalism During our inter-railing adventure this summer, we visited Zurich in Switzerland. In one of the parks there, we came across a dockless scooter, which …

Oct 11, 2018: Venture beyond the expected (quote) “The easiest route to take is to glide in the direction of wherever fate pushes. But living at the mercy of circumstance makes you a passive …

Oct 11, 2018: Myths about children and digital technologies Prof. Sonia Livingstone has written a link-filled post relating to a panel she’s on at the Digital Families 2018 conference. In it, she talks …

Oct 11, 2018: Myths about children and digital technologies Prof. Sonia Livingstone has written a link-filled post relating to a panel she’s on at the Digital Families 2018 conference. In it, she talks …

Oct 9, 2018: GAFA: time to 'ignore and withdraw'? Last week, Motherboard reported that an unannounced update by Apple meant that third-party repairs of products such as the MacBook Pro would be …

Oct 9, 2018: Graceful conduct (quote) “Graceful conduct is the chief ornament of life; it gets you out of any tight situation.” (Baltasar Gracián)

Oct 8, 2018: Issue [#319]: Operation Twilight The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Oct 8, 2018: Issue [#319]: Operation Twilight The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Oct 5, 2018: Example and opinion (quote) “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” (Paolo Coelho)

Oct 4, 2018: Insidious Instagram influencers? There seems to a lot of pushback at the moment against the kind of lifestyle that’s a direct result of the Silicon Valley mindset. People are …

Oct 3, 2018: The end of 'meritocracy' at Mozilla A couple of years ago, I wrote a post explaining how appeals to ‘meritocracy’ are problematic, particularly in education. The world is not …

Oct 3, 2018: The end of 'meritocracy' at Mozilla A couple of years ago, I wrote a post explaining how appeals to ‘meritocracy’ are problematic, particularly in education. The world is not …

Oct 3, 2018: Is Google becoming more like Facebook? I’m composing this post on ChromeOS, which is a little bit hypocritical, but yesterday I was shocked to discover how much data I was …

Oct 2, 2018: Bullshit receptivity scale I love academia. Apparently researchers in psychology are using ‘hyperactive agency detection’ and a ‘Bullshit Receptivity …

Oct 2, 2018: Listen well (quote) “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.” (Chinese Proverb)

Oct 1, 2018: Seven coaching questions Eylan Ezekiel shared this article in the Slack channel we hang out in most days. It’s a useful set of questions for when you’re in a …

Sep 30, 2018: Issue [#318]: Blisters a-go-go The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Sep 27, 2018: Why desk jobs are exhausting Sitting, apparently, is the new smoking. That’s one of the reasons I bought a standing desk, meaning that most days, I’m working while …

Sep 27, 2018: Microshifts are more effective than epiphanies Interesting article about how to change your long-term behaviours. I’ve managed to stop biting my nails (I know, I know), become pescetarian, …

Sep 25, 2018: An incorrect approach to teaching History My thanks to Amy Burvall for bringing to my attention this article about how we’re teaching History incorrectly. Its focus is on how …

Sep 25, 2018: Cory Doctorow on Big Tech, monopolies, and decentralisation I’m not one to watch a 30-minute video, as usually it’s faster and more interesting to read the transcription. I’ll always make an …

Sep 25, 2018: Airbnb wants to give out shares to its superhosts Note: I’m testing shorter, more to-the-point updates, alongside the regular ones. Let me know what you think in the comments! Airbnb sent a …

Sep 24, 2018: Experimenting with turning on comments for a week Hello Thought Shrapnel readers! Some of you have asked over the last few months why the ability to comment on posts is switched off here. Well, …

Sep 23, 2018: Issue [#317]: The Path to better social networks The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Sep 21, 2018: Why badge endorsement is a game-changer Since starting work with Moodle, I’ve been advocating for upgrading its Open Badges implementation to v2.0. It’s on the horizon, …

Sep 21, 2018: Internalising the logic of social media A few days ago, Twitter posted a photo of an early sketch that founder Jack Dorsey made for the initial user interface. It included settings to inform …

Sep 20, 2018: The Digital Knowledge Loop I’ve featured the work of Albert Wenger a few times before on Thought Shrapnel. He maintains a blog called Continuations and is writing a book …

Sep 19, 2018: Kindness and courage (quote) “Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in your own.” Adam Lindsay Gordon

Sep 19, 2018: The rise and rise of e-sports I wouldn’t even have bothered clicking on this article if it weren’t for one simple fact: my son can’t get enough of this …

Sep 18, 2018: Online conformity (quote) “We see ourselves as non-conformist, but I think all of this [online shaming] is creating a more conformist, conservative age… We are …

Sep 18, 2018: A portal into a decentralised universe You may recognise Cloudflare’s name from their provision of of ‘snapshots’ of websites that are currently experiencing problems. …

Sep 18, 2018: (Educational) consulting for the uninitiated Noah Geisel, who I know from the world of Open Badges, has written a great post on how to be an educational consultant. I’ve got some advice of …

Sep 16, 2018: Blogging and content marketing (quote) Content marketing and blogging may be diametrically opposed to each other, but one isn’t bad and the other good. There’s just what’s right for how you …

Sep 16, 2018: Issue [#316]: Is that better? 🙄 🙄 🙄 The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Sep 14, 2018: Charity is no substitute for justice The always-brilliant Audrey Watters eviscerates the latest project from a white, male billionaire to 'fix education'. Citing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' …

Sep 14, 2018: Creativity (quote) “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” (Albert Einstein)

Sep 13, 2018: Audiobooks vs reading Although I listen to a lot of podcasts (here’s my OPML file) I don’t listen to many audiobooks. That’s partly because I never feel …

Sep 13, 2018: What the EU's copyright directive means in practice The EU is certainly coming out swinging against Big Tech this year. Or at least it thinks it is. Yesterday, the European Parliament voted in favour of …

Sep 11, 2018: The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources This map of what happens when you interact with a digital assistant such as the Amazon Echo is incredible. The image is taken from a length piece of …

Sep 11, 2018: Working (quote) “Those who work much, do not work hard.” (Henry David Thoreau)

Sep 10, 2018: 6 things that the best jobs have in common Look at the following list and answer honestly the extent to which your current role, either as an employee or freelancer, matches up: Work that is …

Sep 10, 2018: Invisible turmoil (quote) “It appear[s] like a calm existence [but] the turmoil is invisible.” (Maira Kalman)

Sep 9, 2018: Simple sustainable stories Some people are easy to follow online. They have one social media account to which they post regularly, and back that up with a single website where …

Sep 9, 2018: Issue [#315]: Minimalism FTW The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Sep 8, 2018: What do happy teenagers do? This chart, via Psychology Today, is pretty unequivocal. It shows the activities correlated with happiness (green) and unhappiness (red) in American …

Sep 8, 2018: Burnout-prevention rules I’ve used quite a bit of Ben Werdmuller’s software over the years. He co-founded Elgg, which I used for some of my postgraduate work, and …

Sep 8, 2018: Feedback from the community In last week’s newsletter, the first after a month’s hiatus over the summer, I asked the 1,500+ subscribers to Thought Shrapnel’s if …

Sep 7, 2018: Expertise and knowledge (quote) “With your expertise and knowledge, but you’ll never be an artist And I’m harder on myself than you could ever be regardless What I’ll never be …

Sep 7, 2018: Fluency without conceptual understanding I’ve been following Dan Meyer’s work on-and-off for over a decade now. He’s a Maths teacher by trade, but now working as Chief …

Sep 6, 2018: Dealing with the downsides of remote working A colleague, who also works remotely, shared this article recently. Although I enjoy working remotely, it’s not without its downsides. The …

Sep 6, 2018: Natural light as an 'office perk' You may not be able to detect it, but fluorescent lights flicker. They trigger my migraines. In fact, they affect me to such an extent that, when I …

Sep 5, 2018: Choice (quote) “People who have no choice are generally unhappy. But people with too many choices are almost as unhappy as those who have no choice at …

Sep 4, 2018: The importance of marginalia Austin Kleon makes a simple, but important point, about how to become a writer: I believe that the first step towards becoming a writer is becoming a …

Sep 3, 2018: We're back (with lots of new links!) After a wonderful August, travelling with my family and taking time off from Thought Shrapnel, I’m back. This is the 420th post here. I collect …

Jul 30, 2018: A Stoic (quote) “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” …

Jul 30, 2018: Tracking vs advertising We tend to use words to denote something right up to the time that term becomes untenable. Someone has to invent a better one. Take mobile phones, for …

Jul 30, 2018: Keeping track of articles you want to read One of the things I like about Hacker News is that, as well as providing useful links to technically-minded stuff, there are also ‘Ask HN’ …

Jul 29, 2018: Issue #314: Final Holiday Countdown 🏁 ⏲️ 🏖️ The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jul 27, 2018: Introverts, collaboration, and creativity I work, for the most part, in my home office. Physically-speaking it’s a solitary existence as my office is separate to my house. However, …

Jul 26, 2018: Busyness and value creation I subscribe to both Seth Godin’s blog and his podcast, Akimbo. The man’s a genius as far as I’m concerned. One of his most recent …

Jul 26, 2018: Original work (quote) “To do original work: It’s not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people …

Jul 26, 2018: Assassination markets now available on the blockchain I first mentioned so-called ‘assassination markets’ in one of my weeknotes back in 2015 when reporting back on a dinner party …

Jul 25, 2018: Not my circus (quote) “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” (Polish proverb)

Jul 25, 2018: When we eat matters As I get older, I’m more aware that some things I do are very affected by the world around me. For example, since finding out that the intensity …

Jul 25, 2018: LinkedIn: the game? Just like Facebook, I’ve deleted my LinkedIn account a couple of times. The difference is that I keep coming back to LinkedIn for some reason, …

Jul 23, 2018: Data transfer as a 'hedge'? This is an interesting development: Today, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter joined to announce a new standards initiative called the Data …

Jul 22, 2018: Issue #313: Mootivation The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jul 20, 2018: Childhood amnesia My kids will often ask me about what I was like at their age. It might be about how fast I swam a couple of length freestyle, it could be what music I …

Jul 20, 2018: Childhood amnesia My kids will often ask me about what I was like at their age. It might be about how fast I swam a couple of length freestyle, it could be what music I …

Jul 20, 2018: You cant escape your problems through travel I work from home, but travel quite a bit for the kind of work I do. I’ve noticed how, after three weeks of being based at home, I get restless. …

Jul 20, 2018: You cant escape your problems through travel I work from home, but travel quite a bit for the kind of work I do. I’ve noticed how, after three weeks of being based at home, I get restless. …

Jul 18, 2018: Don Norman on human-centred technologies In this article, Don Norman (famous for his seminal work The Design of Everyday Things) takes to task our technology-centric view of the world: We …

Jul 17, 2018: Be good for something (quote) “Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.” (Henry David Thoreau)

Jul 17, 2018: Work and play (quote) “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his …

Jul 17, 2018: Work and play (quote) “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his …

Jul 15, 2018: Issue #312: If it's not one thing, it's another The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jul 13, 2018: Break the rules like an artist (quote) “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” (Pablo Picasso)

Jul 13, 2018: On 'radical incompetence' One of the reasons I’ve retreated from Twitter since May of last year is the rise of angry politics. I can’t pay attention to everything …

Jul 13, 2018: Populism today (quote) “When we speak of ‘populism’ today, we sometimes mean nothing more than a politics that is audible as well as intelligible to the …

Jul 12, 2018: Blogging in the Fediverse with Write.as I couldn’t be happier about this news. Write.as is a service that allows you to connect multiple blogs to one online editor. You then compose …

Jul 11, 2018: On living in public In this post, Austin Kleon, backpedaling a little from the approach he seemed to promote in Show Your Work!, talks about the problems we all face with …

Jul 11, 2018: On living in public In this post, Austin Kleon, backpedaling a little from the approach he seemed to promote in Show Your Work!, talks about the problems we all face with …

Jul 11, 2018: Artistic value (quote) I don’t think there’s an artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing. – Francis Ford Coppola

Jul 11, 2018: Artistic value (quote) I don’t think there’s an artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing. – Francis Ford Coppola

Jul 11, 2018: Problems with the present and future of work are of our own making This is a long essay in which the RSA announces that, along with its partners (one of which, inevitably, is Google) it’s launching the Future …

Jul 11, 2018: Problems with the present and future of work are of our own making This is a long essay in which the RSA announces that, along with its partners (one of which, inevitably, is Google) it’s launching the Future …

Jul 8, 2018: Issue #311: Under canvas The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jul 7, 2018: Wisdom and experience (quote) “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.” (Terry Pratchett)

Jul 7, 2018: Shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies (quote) “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.” (Albert Einstein)

Jul 6, 2018: The dangers of distracted parenting I usually limit myself to three quotations in posts I write here. I’m going to break that self-imposed rule for this article by Erika Christakis …

Jul 6, 2018: The dangers of distracted parenting I usually limit myself to three quotations in posts I write here. I’m going to break that self-imposed rule for this article by Erika Christakis …

Jul 6, 2018: Cory Doctorow on the corruption at the heart of Facebook I like Cory Doctorow. He’s a gifted communicator who wears his heart on his sleeve. In this article, he talks about Facebook and how what …

Jul 6, 2018: Cory Doctorow on the corruption at the heart of Facebook I like Cory Doctorow. He’s a gifted communicator who wears his heart on his sleeve. In this article, he talks about Facebook and how what …

Jul 5, 2018: On 'unique' organisational cultures This article on Recode, which accompanies one of their podcast episodes, features some thoughts from Adam Grant, psychologist and management expert. A …

Jul 1, 2018: Issue #310: Moodling about in Barcelona The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jun 30, 2018: Fear (quote) “One already wet does not fear the rain.” (Turkish proverb)

Jun 30, 2018: Reduce your costs, retain your focus The older I get, the less important I realise things are that I deemed earlier in life. For example, the main thing in life seems to be to find …

Jun 30, 2018: The link between sleep and creativity I’m a big fan of sleep. Since buying a smartwatch earlier this year, I’ve been wearing it all of the time, including in bed at night. What …

Jun 28, 2018: Attention scarcity as an existential threat This post is from Albert Wenger, a partner a New York-based early stage VC firm focused on investing in disruptive networks. It’s taken from his …

Jun 27, 2018: Our irresistible screens of splendour Apple is touting a new feature in the latest version of iOS that helps you reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone. Facebook are doing …

Jun 27, 2018: Rethinking hierarchy This study featured on the blog of the Stanford Graduate School of Business talks about the difference between hierarchical and non-hierarchical …

Jun 27, 2018: Freedom (quote) “No man is free who is not master of himself.” (Epictetus)

Jun 24, 2018: Issue #309: Different The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jun 18, 2018: Crawling before you walk Alberto Corado, Moodle’s UX Lead, sent me an article by Rebecca Guthrie entitled Crawl, Walk, Run. It’s contains good, concise, advice in …

Jun 17, 2018: Issue 308: World Cup(cake) The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jun 16, 2018: Higher Education and blockchain I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the most useful applications of blockchain technologies are incredibly boring. That goes in …

Jun 16, 2018: On 'instagrammability' “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” (John M. Culkin) I choose not to use or link to Facebook services, and that includes Instagram …

Jun 15, 2018: F*** off Google This is interesting, given that Google was welcomed with open arms in London: Google plans to implant a "Google Campus" in Kreuzberg, Berlin. We, as a …

Jun 12, 2018: Seed of good (quote) “Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all …

Jun 12, 2018: Where memes come from In my TEDx talk six years ago, I explained how the understanding and remixing of memes was a great way to develop digital literacies. At that time, …

Jun 11, 2018: The seductive logic of technology (quote) "Whenever we get swept up in the self-reinforcing momentum and seductive logic of some new technology, we forget to ask what else it might be doing, …

Jun 11, 2018: Inequality, anarchy, and the course of human history Sometimes I’m reminded of the fact that I haven’t checked in with someone’s worth for a few weeks, months, or even years. I’m …

Jun 10, 2018: Issue #307: Home on the range The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jun 9, 2018: Mediocrity (quote) “You needn’t settle for a mediocre life just because the people around you did.” (Joshua Fields Millburn)

Jun 9, 2018: Git yourself off that platform! This week, tens of thousands of open source projects migrated their codebase away from GitHub to alternatives such as GitLab. Why? Because Microsoft …

Jun 8, 2018: All the questions (quote) “One who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.” (Confucius)

Jun 8, 2018: Blockchain was just a stepping stone I’m reading Adam Greenfield’s excellent book Radical Technologies: the design of everyday life at the moment. He says: And for those of us …

Jun 7, 2018: Living with anxiety It’s taken me a long time to admit it to myself (and my wife) but while I don’t currently suffer from depression, I do live with a …

Jun 5, 2018: "You’re either a leader everywhere or nowhere" I confess to not have heard of Abby Wambach, a recently-retired US soccer player, until Laura Hilliger brought her to my attention in the form of …

Jun 4, 2018: Systems change Over the last 15 years that I’ve been in the workplace, I’ve worked in a variety of organisations. One thing I’ve found is that …

Jun 3, 2018: Finding friends and family without smartphones, maps, or GPS When I was four years old we moved to the North East of England. Soon after, my parents took my grandmother, younger sister (still in a pushchair) and …

Jun 3, 2018: Issue #306: Bachelor lifestyle The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jun 1, 2018: Why NASA is better than Facebook at writing software Facebook’s motto, until recently, was “move fast and break things”. This chimed with a wider Silicon Valley brogrammer mentality of …

Jun 1, 2018: The best teams are cognitively diverse and psychologically safe I’ve written about this before, but this HBR article explains that successful teams require both psychological safety and cognitive diversity. …

Jun 1, 2018: No opinion (quote) “It is in our power to have no opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul; for things themselves have no natural power to form …

May 31, 2018: On 'academic innovation' Rolin Moe is in a good position to talk on the topic of ‘academic innovation’. In fact, it’s literally in his job title: …

May 31, 2018: Criticism (quote) “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." (Voltaire)

May 31, 2018: Protocols for the free web If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time at the intersection of education and technology, it’s that nobody cares about the …

May 31, 2018: Encumbered by civilization (quote) “To ramble across the countryside is to disembarrass oneself of the social and mental constraints with which one is encumbered by …

May 31, 2018: Paywalls and Patreon I was part of the discussion that led to this post about Medium’s paywall. Richard Bartlett, whose work with Enspiral, Loomio, and decentralised …

May 27, 2018: Good, hard work (quote) “Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, …

May 27, 2018: Issue #305: Sprinting into the distance The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

May 25, 2018: Wielding your pension fund for good Some wise words in this article in The Guardian from Aditya Chakrabortty. Perhaps it’s my age, but I’m increasingly aware of the power …

May 25, 2018: First tea, then revolution I’m working with Outlandish this week, as part of a MoodleNet design sprint. One of their co-founders, Harry Robbins, is quoted in the latest …

May 25, 2018: Sensible people “We find very few sensible people except those who agree with our own opinion.” (François de La Rochefoucauld)

May 24, 2018: Useful mental models While there’s nothing worse than a pedantic philosopher (I’m looking at you Socrates) it’s definitely worth remembering that, as …

May 23, 2018: Nobody is ready for GDPR As a small business owner and co-op founder, GDPR applies to me as much as everyone else. It’s a massive ballache, but I support the philosophy …

May 23, 2018: Measuring ability and greatness “Ability and greatness must be measured by virtue, not by good fortune.” (Baltasar Gracián)

May 22, 2018: Estonia goes for free public transport Estonia is pretty much already the home of free public wifi, so this is a logical next step. The council of the capital city, Tallinn, provided free …

May 22, 2018: The toughest smartphones on the market I found this interesting: To help you avoid finding out the horrifying truth when your phone goes clattering to the ground, we tested all of the major …

May 22, 2018: The increase in worker-owned co-ops This article by Eillie Anzilotti is a Fast Company ‘long read’. It’s US-focused and includes specific examples and case studies, but …

May 22, 2018: The increase in worker-owned co-ops This article by Eillie Anzilotti is a Fast Company ‘long read’. It’s US-focused and includes specific examples and case studies, but …

May 20, 2018: Issue #304: Grateful Dead Public Radio The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

May 19, 2018: The New Octopus: going beyond managerial interventions for internet giants This article in Logic magazine was brought to my attention by a recent issue of Ian O’Byrne’s excellent TL;DR newsletter. It’s a …

May 19, 2018: The New Octopus: going beyond managerial interventions for internet giants This article in Logic magazine was brought to my attention by a recent issue of Ian O’Byrne’s excellent TL;DR newsletter. It’s a …

May 18, 2018: Schedule your priorities “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” (Stephen Covey)

May 18, 2018: Owners need to invest in employees to have them feel invested in their work Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, writes: As the nature of work changes, the factors keeping people invested in and motivated by that work are changing, …

May 18, 2018: Owners need to invest in employees to have them feel invested in their work Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, writes: As the nature of work changes, the factors keeping people invested in and motivated by that work are changing, …

May 18, 2018: On blogging Jim Groom nails it on blogging: [M]ost folks treat their blog as if it were some kind of glossy headshot of their thinking, whereas the beauty and …

May 18, 2018: On blogging Jim Groom nails it on blogging: [M]ost folks treat their blog as if it were some kind of glossy headshot of their thinking, whereas the beauty and …

May 18, 2018: Peace of mind “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

May 18, 2018: The disappearing computer and the future of AI I was at the Thinking Digital conference yesterday, which is always an inspiring event. It kicked off with a presentation from a representative of …

May 14, 2018: Trust and the cult of your PLN This is a long article with a philosophical take on one of my favourite subjects: social networks and the flow of information. The author, C Thi …

May 14, 2018: Trust and the cult of your PLN This is a long article with a philosophical take on one of my favourite subjects: social networks and the flow of information. The author, C Thi …

May 14, 2018: The role of Lady Luck This post on Of Dollars and Data is a bit rambling, at least from my perspective, but I did like this paragraph: Think about the story you tell …

May 14, 2018: The role of Lady Luck This post on Of Dollars and Data is a bit rambling, at least from my perspective, but I did like this paragraph: Think about the story you tell …

May 13, 2018: Issue #303: Rest your weary head The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

May 11, 2018: Altruism “Idealistic as it may sound, altruism should be the driving force in business, not just competition and a desire for wealth.” (Dalai Lama)

May 11, 2018: Work-life balance is actually a circle, according to Jeff Bezos Whatever your thoughts about Amazon, it’s hard to disagree that they’ve changed the world. Their CEO, Jeff Bezos, has some thoughts about …

May 10, 2018: Nothing better to do “Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.” (Oscar Wilde)

May 10, 2018: The virtue of rest This article in The Washington Post is, inevitably, focused on American work culture. However, I think it’s more widely applicable, even if we …

May 9, 2018: Tolerating uncertainty Although claims about the ‘unprecedented’ times we live in can be overblown, I think it’s reasonable to state that we exist in an …

May 5, 2018: Alexa for Kids as babysitter? I’m just on my way out if the house to head for Scotland to climb some mountains with my wife. But while she does (what I call) her ‘last …

May 4, 2018: Getting on the edtech bus As many people will be aware, the Open University (OU) is going through a pretty turbulent time in its history. As befitting the nature of the …

May 3, 2018: Bootstraps "You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots." (Joseph Hanlon)

May 2, 2018: Space as a service This isn’t the most well-written post I’ve read this year, but it does point to a shift that I’ve noticed — perhaps because I work …

Apr 30, 2018: Blockchain as a 'futuristic integrity wand' I’ve no doubt that blockchain technology is useful for super-boring scenarios and underpinning get-rich-quick schemes, but it has very little …

Apr 29, 2018: Profit vs benefit “The difference between profit and benefit is that operations producing profit can be carried out by another in my place: he would make the …

Apr 29, 2018: Issue #302: Read aloud for maximum effect The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Apr 28, 2018: What can dreams of a communist robot utopia teach us about human nature? This article in Aeon by Victor Petrov posits that, in the post-industrial age, we no longer see human beings as primarily manual workers, but as …

Apr 28, 2018: Escaping from the crush of circumstances “Today I escaped from the crush of circumstances, or better put, I threw them out, for the crush wasn’t from outside me but in my own …

Apr 27, 2018: The benefits of reading aloud to children This article in the New York Times by Perri Klass, M.D. focuses on studies that show a link between parents reading to their children and a reduction …

Apr 26, 2018: You need more daylight to sleep better An an historian, I’ve often been fascinated about what life must have been like before the dawn of electricity. I have a love-hate relationship …

Apr 26, 2018: On the cultural value of memes I’ve always been a big fan of memes. In fact, I discuss them in my thesis, ebook, and TEDx talk. This long-ish article from Jay Owens digs into …

Apr 25, 2018: The résumé is a poor proxy for a human being I’ve never been a fan of the résumé, or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ (CV) as we tend to call them in the UK. How on earth can a couple of …

Apr 25, 2018: OEP (Open Educational Pragmatism?) This is an interesting post to read, not least because I sat next to the author at the conference he describes last week, and we had a discussion …

Apr 24, 2018: Everything is potentially a meme Despite — or perhaps because of — my feelings towards the British monarchy, this absolutely made my day: Isn’t the internet great? Source: Haha

Apr 23, 2018: How to be super-productive Not a huge sample size, but this article has studied what makes ‘super-productive’ people tick: We collected data on over 7,000 people who …

Apr 22, 2018: Thinking outdoors “We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books. It is our habit to think outdoors — walking, leaping, …

Apr 22, 2018: Issue #301: Endless horse The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Apr 21, 2018: Clickbait and switch? Should you design for addiction or for loyalty? That’s the question posed by Michelle Manafy in this post for Nieman Lab. It all depends, she …

Apr 21, 2018: Read for freedom "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." (Frederick Douglass)

Apr 21, 2018: Soviet-era industrial design While the prospects of me learning the Russian language anytime soon are effectively zero, I do have a soft spot for the country. My favourite novels …

Apr 21, 2018: Conversational implicature In references for jobs, former employers are required to be positive. Therefore, a reference that focuses on how polite and punctual someone is could …

Apr 21, 2018: Ryan Holiday's 13 daily life-changing habits Articles like this are usually clickbait with two or three useful bits of advice that you’ve already read elsewhere, coupled with some other …

Apr 20, 2018: Valuing and signalling your skills When I rocked up to the MoodleMoot in Miami back in November last year, I ran a workshop that involved human spectrograms, post-it notes, and …

Apr 17, 2018: Intimate data analytics in education The ever-relevant and compulsively-readable Ben Williamson turns his attention to ‘precision education’ in his latest post. It would seem …

Apr 17, 2018: All killer, no filler This short posts cites a talk entitled 10 Timeframes given by Paul Ford back in 2012: Ford asks a deceivingly simple question: when you spend a …

Apr 17, 2018: All killer, no filler This short posts cites a talk entitled 10 Timeframes given by Paul Ford back in 2012: Ford asks a deceivingly simple question: when you spend a …

Apr 16, 2018: Do what you can “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Apr 16, 2018: Systems thinking and AI Edge is an interesting website. Its aim is: To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put …

Apr 15, 2018: Issue #300: Tricentennial The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Apr 14, 2018: The four things you need to become an intellectual I came across this, I think, via one of the aggregation sites I skim. It’s a letter in the form of an article by Paul J. Griffiths, who is a …

Apr 14, 2018: Craig Mod's subtle redesign of the hardware Kindle I like Craig Mod’s writing. He’s the guy that’s written on his need to walk, drawing his own calendar, and getting his attention …

Apr 13, 2018: Profiting from your enemies While I don’t feel like I’ve got any enemies, I’m sure there’s plenty of people who don’t like me, for whatever reason. …

Apr 13, 2018: The root of all happiness “Without acknowledging the ever-present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important, and the important will appear superficial. Death …

Apr 13, 2018: Random Street View does exactly what you think it does Today’s a non-work day for me but, after reviewing resource-centric social media sites as part of my Moodle work yesterday, I rediscovered the …

Apr 13, 2018: Long-term investments “To truly appreciate something, you must confine yourself to it. There’s a certain level of joy and meaning that you reach in life only …

Apr 13, 2018: Deciding what to do next This post by Daniel Gross, partner in a well-known startup accelerator is written for an audience of people in tech looking to build their next …

Apr 13, 2018: Designing for privacy Someone described the act of watching Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, testifying before Congress as “low level self-harm”. In this post, …

Apr 12, 2018: Multiple income streams Right now, I’m splitting my time between being employed (four days per week with Moodle), my consultancy and the co-op which I co-founded (one …

Apr 12, 2018: Multiple income streams Right now, I’m splitting my time between being employed (four days per week with Moodle), my consultancy and the co-op which I co-founded (one …

Apr 11, 2018: In praise of ordinary lives This richly-illustrated post uses as a touchstone the revolution in art that took place in the 17th century with Johannes Vermeer’s The Little …

Apr 11, 2018: In praise of ordinary lives This richly-illustrated post uses as a touchstone the revolution in art that took place in the 17th century with Johannes Vermeer’s The Little …

Apr 11, 2018: Issue #299: Jersey shore The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Apr 11, 2018: Issue #299: Jersey shore The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Apr 7, 2018: Alienated life “The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the pub, and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., …

Apr 6, 2018: All that is gold does not glitter "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the …

Apr 6, 2018: The death of the newsfeed (is much exaggerated) Benedict Evans is a venture capitalist who focuses on technology companies. He’s a smart guy with some important insights, and I thought his …

Apr 6, 2018: Absentee leadership Leadership is a funny thing. There’s lots written about it, but, at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. I’ve worked …

Apr 5, 2018: Social internet vs social media It’s good to see Cal Newport, whose book Deep Work I found unexpectedly great last year, add a bit more nuance to his position on social media: …

Apr 5, 2018: Social internet vs social media It’s good to see Cal Newport, whose book Deep Work I found unexpectedly great last year, add a bit more nuance to his position on social media: …

Apr 5, 2018: The '1, 2, 3' approach to organising your working day I subscribe to the free version of Stowe Boyd’s Work Futures newsletter. He’s jumped around platforms a bit when I think he’d be …

Apr 5, 2018: The '1, 2, 3' approach to organising your working day I subscribe to the free version of Stowe Boyd’s Work Futures newsletter. He’s jumped around platforms a bit when I think he’d be …

Apr 5, 2018: Truth “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” (Mark Twain)

Apr 5, 2018: Truth “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” (Mark Twain)

Apr 4, 2018: Blockcerts mobile I still don’t really see the need for blockchain-based credentials (particularly given the tension between GDPR and immutability) but this is …

Apr 4, 2018: Blockcerts mobile I still don’t really see the need for blockchain-based credentials (particularly given the tension between GDPR and immutability) but this is …

Apr 3, 2018: Automated Chinese jaywalking fines are a foretaste of so-called 'smart cities' Given the choice of living in a so-called ‘smart city’ and living in rural isolation, I think I’d prefer the latter. This opinion …

Apr 3, 2018: Automated Chinese jaywalking fines are a foretaste of so-called 'smart cities' Given the choice of living in a so-called ‘smart city’ and living in rural isolation, I think I’d prefer the latter. This opinion …

Apr 3, 2018: What's the link between employment and creativity? These days, we tend to think of artists as working on their art full-time. After all, it’s their passion and vocation. That’s not always …

Apr 2, 2018: Mozilla's Web Literacy Curriculum I’m not sure what to say about this announcement from Mozilla about their ‘new’ Web Literacy Curriculum. I led this work from 2012 …

Apr 2, 2018: Mozilla's Web Literacy Curriculum I’m not sure what to say about this announcement from Mozilla about their ‘new’ Web Literacy Curriculum. I led this work from 2012 …

Apr 1, 2018: Issue #298: Easter treats The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Mar 31, 2018: Albert Camus quotation I’ve long admired the “invincible summer” quotation from Camus. The longer version, however is much better. After I couldn’t …

Mar 31, 2018: xkcd on conversational dynamics Source: xkcd

Mar 30, 2018: Not everyone is going to like you One of my favourite parts of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is this one: Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, …

Mar 29, 2018: No-one wants a single identity, online or offline It makes sense for companies reliant on advertising to not only get as much data as they can about you, but to make sure that you have a single …

Mar 29, 2018: Contentment “Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress.” (Epictetus)

Mar 28, 2018: The spectrum of work autonomy Some companies have (and advertise as a huge perk) their ‘unlimited vacation’ policy. That, of course, sounds amazing. Except, of course, …

Mar 28, 2018: Ignorance and dogmatism “The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.” (Sir William Osler)

Mar 28, 2018: Every part of your digital life is being tracked, packaged up, and sold I’ve just installed Lumen Privacy Monitor on my Android smartphone after reading this blog post from Mozilla: New research co-authored by …

Mar 28, 2018: Survival in the age of surveillance The Guardian has a list of 18 tips to ‘survive’ (i.e. be safe) in an age where everyone wants to know everything about you — so that they …

Mar 27, 2018: How to get hired A great short post from Seth Godin, who explains how things work in the real world when you’re looking for a job or your next gig: You meet …

Mar 26, 2018: Alternatives to all of Facebook's main features Over on a microcast at Patreon (subscribers only, I’m afraid) I referenced an email conversation I’ve been having about getting people off …

Mar 25, 2018: Issue #297: Springing forward The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Mar 24, 2018: The only privacy policy that matters is your own Dave Pell writes NextDraft, a daily newsletter that’s one of the most popular on the web. I used to subscribe, and it’s undeniably …

Mar 24, 2018: Co-operation “Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.” (Alexander Graham Bell)

Mar 23, 2018: Support Thought Shrapnel on Patreon For almost a year, I’ve been building up supporters for Thought Shrapnel through a semi-automated workflow that involved Gumroad. I still think …

Mar 23, 2018: OERu has a social network I saw (via OLDaily) that OERu is now using Mastodon to form a social network. This might work, it might not, but I’m flagging it as it’s …

Mar 23, 2018: Anxiety “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” (Søren Kierkegaard)

Mar 22, 2018: Moral needs and user needs That products should be ‘user-focused’ goes without queustion these days. At least by everyone apart from Cassie Robinson, who writes: …

Mar 22, 2018: On struggle The popular view of life seems to be that mishaps, hardship, and struggle are all things that most people can avoid. If we stop to think about that …

Mar 21, 2018: Going deep I don’t think the right term for this is ‘mobile blindness’ but Seth Godin’s analogy is nevertheless instructive. He talks …

Mar 21, 2018: Derek Sivers has quit Facebook (hint: you should, too) I have huge respect for Derek Sivers, and really enjoyed his book Anything You Want. His book reviews are also worth trawling through. In this post, …

Mar 21, 2018: Superficial and imperfect knowledge “To know things well, we must know the details, and as they are almost infinite, our knowledge is always superficial and imperfect.” …

Mar 20, 2018: Bridging technologies When you go deep enough into philosophy or religion one of the key insights is that everything is temporary. Success is temporary. Suffering is …

Mar 20, 2018: How to choose an open license for your project I’m so used to working openly by default that I sometimes forget that for many (most?) people it’s a new, and sometimes quite scary, step. …

Mar 20, 2018: Mystery of life “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.” (Frank Herbert)

Mar 19, 2018: Decision fatigue and parenting Our 11 year-old still asks plenty of questions, but also looks things up for himself online. Our seven year-old fires off barrages of questions when …

Mar 19, 2018: Tech will eat itself Mike Murphy has been travelling to tech conferences: CES, MWC, and SXSW. He hasn’t been overly-impressed by what he’s seen: The role of …

Mar 18, 2018: Issue #296: Goodbye winter blues The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Mar 16, 2018: On playing video games with your kids I play ‘video games’ (a curiously old-fashioned term) with my kids all the time. Current favourites are FIFA 18 and Star Wars Battlefront …

Mar 16, 2018: Browser extensions FTW Last week, the New York Times issued a correction to an article written by Justin Bank about President Trump. This was no ordinary correction, …

Mar 15, 2018: The tenets of 'Slow Thought' The slow movement began with ‘slow food’ which was in opposition to, unsurprisingly, ‘fast food’. Since then there’s …

Mar 15, 2018: Wisdom and riches “When a young man was boasting in the theatre and saying, I am wise, for I have conversed with many wise men; Epictetus said, I also have …

Mar 15, 2018: Different ways of knowing The Book of Life from the School of Life is an ever-expanding treasure trove of wisdom. In this entry, entitled Knowing Things Intellectually vs. …

Mar 14, 2018: Beginning and middle “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle." (Jon Acuff)

Mar 14, 2018: Slack's bait-and-switch? I remember the early days of Twitter. It was great, as there were many different clients, both native apps and web-based ones. There was lots of …

Mar 13, 2018: The security guide as literary genre I stumbled across this conference presentation from back in January by Jeffrey Monro, “a doctoral student in English at the University of …

Mar 12, 2018: Do the thing “Do the thing you think you cannot do." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Mar 12, 2018: Memento mori As I’ve mentioned before on Thought Shrapnel, next to my bed I have a memento mori, an object that reminds me that one day I will die. My friend …

Mar 12, 2018: Microcast #005 [audio src=“http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/episode-005.mp3”][/audio] Thinking through an approach to building Project …

Mar 11, 2018: Issue #295: A wee problem... The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Mar 10, 2018: Living an antifragile life Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book is out, which made me think about his previous work, Antifragile (which I enjoyed greatly). As Shane Parrish …

Mar 9, 2018: The end/beginning “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else." (Fred Rogers)

Mar 9, 2018: Archives of Radical Philosophy A quick one to note that the entire archive (1972-2018) of Radical Philosophy is now online. It describes itself as a “UK-based journal of socialist …

Mar 8, 2018: Do the tools you use matter? An interesting post from Austin Kleon on whether tools matter. It was prompted by the image accompanying this post, which met with some objections …

Mar 7, 2018: Is your smartphone a very real part of who you are? I really enjoy Aeon’s articles, and probably should think about becoming a paying subscriber. They make me think. This one is about your …

Mar 7, 2018: Microcast #004 [audio src=“http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/microcast-004.mp3”][/audio] Is it really a ‘skills gap’ that we …

Mar 7, 2018: Masterpieces “Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the …

Mar 6, 2018: Microcast #003 [audio src=“http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/microcast-003.mp3”][/audio] What technologies are going to be used with …

Mar 6, 2018: 30,000 hours of sleep “Those who research world-class performance focus only on what students do in the gym or track or practice room. Everyone focuses on the most …

Mar 6, 2018: Teaching kids about computers and coding Not only is Hacker News a great place to find the latest news about tech-related stuff, it’s also got some interesting ‘Ask HN’ …

Mar 5, 2018: Microcast #002 [audio src=“http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/episode-002.mp3”][/audio] What’s Doug working on this week? Links: …

Mar 5, 2018: Building a bridge “I learned that a long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.” (Seth Godin)

Mar 5, 2018: The three things you need to make friends over the age of 30 This article from 2012 was referenced in something I was reading last week: As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three …

Mar 4, 2018: Microcast #001 [audio src="http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/episode-001.mp3"][/audio] What is microcasting? Why has it suddenly appeared on Thought …

Mar 3, 2018: Issue #294: Snowmaggedon ❄️ The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Mar 3, 2018: Happiness “Happiness is where you find it, not where you go in search of it.” (John Kay)

Mar 3, 2018: Microcast #000 [audio src=“http://188.166.96.48/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/episode-000.mp3”][/audio] Just setting this thing up with the assistance of my …

Mar 3, 2018: Tact “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.” (Sir Isaac Newton)

Mar 3, 2018: Geek social fallacies I came across this via a chain of links that took me down a rabbithole. I’m pretty sure it started with an article referenced on Hacker News, …

Mar 1, 2018: Google's new Slack competitor How many failed ‘social’ and ‘chat’ products has Google racked up now? Despite that, their new Slack competitor, Hangouts Chat …

Mar 1, 2018: 10 breakthrough technologies for 2018 I do like MIT’s Technology Review. It gives a glimpse of cool future uses of technology, while retaining a critical lens. Every year since 2001 …

Feb 28, 2018: The moon is getting 4G Yep, you read that headline correctly. Vodafone and Nokia are getting huge amounts of publicitly for partnering with scientists to put a 4G network on …

Feb 28, 2018: Possible - impossible “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” (Arthur C. Clarke)

Feb 28, 2018: Your best decisions don't come when you demand them As with every episode so far, I greatly enjoyed listening to a recent episode of the Hurry Slowly podcast, this time with interviewee Bill Duggan. He …

Feb 27, 2018: Some great links for Product Managers As I’ve mentioned before, my new role at Moodle is essentially one of a product manager. I’ve done things which overlap the different …

Feb 26, 2018: Firefox OS lives on in The Matrix I still have a couple of Firefox OS phones from my time at Mozilla. The idea was brilliant: using the web as the platform for smartphones. The …

Feb 26, 2018: The 'loudness' of our thoughts affects how we judge external sounds This is really interesting: The "loudness" of our thoughts -- or how we imagine saying something -- influences how we judge the loudness of real, …

Feb 25, 2018: Issue #293: Making cheese grate again The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Feb 23, 2018: Arbitrary deadlines are the enemy of creativity People like deadlines because people like accountability. There’s nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact that sometimes it’s …

Feb 23, 2018: Arbitrary deadlines are the enemy of creativity People like deadlines because people like accountability. There’s nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact that sometimes it’s …

Feb 23, 2018: Small 'b' blogging I’ve been a blogger for around 13 years now. What the author of this post says about its value really resonates with me: Small b blogging is …

Feb 23, 2018: Small 'b' blogging I’ve been a blogger for around 13 years now. What the author of this post says about its value really resonates with me: Small b blogging is …

Feb 23, 2018: What we can learn from Seneca about dying well As I’ve shared before, next to my bed at home I have a memento mori, an object to remind me before I go to sleep and when I get up that one day …

Feb 23, 2018: Light and deep “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world." (Miyamoto Musashi)

Feb 23, 2018: Anonymity vs accountability As this article points out, organisational culture is a delicate balance between many things, including accountability and anonymity: Though some …

Feb 22, 2018: On your deathbed, you're not going to wish that you'd spent more time on Facebook As many readers of my work will know, I don’t have a Facebook account. This article uses Facebook as a proxy for something that, whether …

Feb 21, 2018: The Goldilocks Rule In this article from 2016, James Clear investigates motivation: Why do we stay motivated to reach some goals, but not others? Why do we say we want …

Feb 20, 2018: Showing off “Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory." (Bruce Lee)

Feb 19, 2018: On the death of Google/Apache Wave (and the lessons we can learn from it) This article is entitled ‘How not to replace email’ and details both the demise of Google Wave and it’s open source continuation, …

Feb 18, 2018: To lose old styles of reading is to lose a part of ourselves Sometimes I think we’re living in the end times: Out for dinner with another writer, I said, "I think I've forgotten how to read." "Yes!" he …

Feb 18, 2018: Issue #292: Is there a cure for Tasmania? 🇦🇺 The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Feb 17, 2018: Does the world need interactive emails? I’m on the fence on this as, on the one hand, email is an absolute bedrock of the internet, a common federated standard that we can rely upon …

Feb 17, 2018: Does the world need interactive emails? I’m on the fence on this as, on the one hand, email is an absolute bedrock of the internet, a common federated standard that we can rely upon …

Feb 16, 2018: The Kano model Using the example of the innovation of a customised home page from the early days of Flickr, this article helps break down how to delight users: Years …

Feb 15, 2018: Is the gig economy the mass exploitation of millennials? The answer is, “yes, probably”. If the living wage is a pay scale calculated to be that of an appropriate amount of money to pay a worker …

Feb 15, 2018: Humans are not machines Can we teach machines to be ‘fully human’? It’s a fascinating question, as it makes us think carefully about what it actually means …

Feb 14, 2018: Legislating against manipulated 'facts' is a slippery slope In this day and age it’s hard to know who to trust. I was raised to trust in authority but was particularly struck when I did a deep-dive into …

Feb 14, 2018: Obvious “Things always become obvious after the fact.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Feb 14, 2018: Why we forget most of what we read I read a lot of stuff, and I remember random bits of it. I used to be reasonably disciplined about bookmarking stuff, but then realised I hardly ever …

Feb 14, 2018: Should you lower your expectations? “Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll hit the treetops” was always the kind of advice I was given when I was younger. But extremely …

Feb 14, 2018: Trust “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." (Ernest Hemingway)

Feb 14, 2018: Why do some things go viral? I love internet memes and included a few in my TEDx talk a few years ago. The term ‘meme’ comes from Richard Dawkins who coined the term …

Feb 13, 2018: Humans responsible for the Black Death I taught History for years, and when I was teaching the Black Death, I inculcated the received wisdom that it was rats that were responsible for the …

Feb 13, 2018: The world's most nutritious foods The older I get, the more important (and the more immediately apparent) the health benefits from eating and exercising well. This article reports on …

Feb 12, 2018: Audio Adversarial speech-to-text I don’t usually go in for detailed technical papers on stuff that’s not directly relevant to what I’m working on, but I made an …

Feb 12, 2018: Sounds and smells can help reinforce learning while you sleep Apparently, the idea of learning while you sleep is actually bollocks, at least the way we have come to believe it works: It wasn’t until the 1950s …

Feb 12, 2018: Every easy thing is hard again Although he isn’t aware, it was Frank Chimero who came up with the name Thought Shrapnel in a throwaway comment he made on his blog a while …

Feb 11, 2018: Issue #291: Necessary koalafications 🐨 The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Feb 9, 2018: Why good parents have naughty children This made me smile, then it made me think. Our children are offspring of a current teacher and a former teacher. What difference does our structure …

Feb 9, 2018: Lost “If you’re not lost, you’re not much of an explorer.” (John Perry Barlow)

Feb 9, 2018: Telegram cryptocurrency I come across so many interesting links every day that I can only post a handful of them. Right now, and only a couple of months after starting this …

Feb 8, 2018: Rock piles and cathedrals “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” (Antoine de …

Feb 8, 2018: Platform censorship and the threat to democracy TorrentFreak reports that Science Hub (commonly referred to as ‘Sci-Hub’) has had its account with Cloudflare terminated. Sci-Hub is …

Feb 8, 2018: Decentralisation is the only way to wean people off capitalist social media Everyone wants ‘decentralisation’ these days, whether it’s the way we make payments, or… well, pretty much anything that can …

Feb 8, 2018: Europe is being taken over by crayfish that can clone themselves I was a teenager when Dolly the sheep was cloned. It made me wonder why evolution seemed to favour species producing offspring from two parents. Why …

Feb 7, 2018: Alzheimer's is a kind of 'type 3' diabetes My Great Aunt, who we were close to, developed Alzheimer’s Disease towards the end of her life. This article claims that scientific evidence …

Feb 7, 2018: Puertopia Dudes make millions (or billions) of dollars via cryptocurrency. Hurricane hits Puerto Rico. They decide to build a new state. They call what they are …

Feb 7, 2018: Worth the risks? “Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.” (Amelia Earhart)

Feb 7, 2018: Creating media, not just consuming it My wife and I are fans of Common Sense Media, and often use their film and TV reviews when deciding what to watch as a family. In their newsletter, …

Feb 6, 2018: GDPR, blockchain, and privacy I’m taking an online course about the impending General Data Protection Regulatin (GDPR), which I’ve writing about on my personal blog. An …

Feb 6, 2018: Living in a dictatorship The historian and social commentator in me found this fascinating. This article quotes Twitter user G. Willow Wilson (who claims to have liven in a …

Feb 6, 2018: Culture is the behaviour you reward and punish This is an interesting read on team and organisational culture in practice. Interesting choice of image, too (I’ve used a different one). …

Feb 6, 2018: Culture is the behaviour you reward and punish This is an interesting read on team and organisational culture in practice. Interesting choice of image, too (I’ve used a different one). …

Feb 5, 2018: Are cows less valuable than wolves? When debating with people, one of my go-to approaches is getting them to think through the logical consequences of their actions. Effectively, …

Feb 5, 2018: How we get influence backwards Austin Kleon reflects on the following quotation from Jean-Michel Basquiat: You’ve got to realize that influence is not influence. It’s simply …

Feb 5, 2018: How we get influence backwards Austin Kleon reflects on the following quotation from Jean-Michel Basquiat: You’ve got to realize that influence is not influence. It’s simply …

Feb 4, 2018: Issue #290: Unscathed The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Feb 3, 2018: The punk rock internet This kind of article is useful in that it shows to a mainstream audience the benefits of a redecentralised web and resistance to Big Tech. Balkan and …

Feb 3, 2018: The punk rock internet This kind of article is useful in that it shows to a mainstream audience the benefits of a redecentralised web and resistance to Big Tech. Balkan and …

Feb 3, 2018: The origin of the term 'open source' I didn’t used to think that who came up with the name of a thing particularly mattered, nor how it came about. I’ve changed my mind, …

Feb 2, 2018: Optimism “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” (Helen Keller)

Feb 2, 2018: The Project Design Tetrahedron I had reason this week to revisit Dorian Taylor’s interview on Uses This. I fell into a rabbithole of his work, and came across a lengthy post …

Feb 2, 2018: The Project Design Tetrahedron I had reason this week to revisit Dorian Taylor’s interview on Uses This. I fell into a rabbithole of his work, and came across a lengthy post …

Feb 2, 2018: Promising everything “Whoever promises everything, promises nothing, and promises are a trap for fools.” (Baltasar Gracián)

Feb 1, 2018: Designing social systems This article is too long and written in a way that could be more direct, but it still makes some good points. Perhaps the best bit is the comparison …

Feb 1, 2018: Irony doesn't scale Paul Ford is venerated in Silicon Valley and, based on what I’ve read of his, for good reason. He describes himself as a ‘reluctant …

Feb 1, 2018: Web Trends Map 2018 (or 'why we can't have nice things') My son, who’s now 11 years old, used to have iA’s Web Trends Map v4 on his wall. It was produced in 2009, when he was two: I used it to …

Jan 31, 2018: So, what do you do? Say what you want about teaching, it makes it extremely easy to answer the above question. But that question might not be the best way to build …

Jan 31, 2018: The military implications of fitness tech I was talking about this last night with a guy who used to be in the army. It’s a BFD. In March 2017, a member of the Royal Navy ran around …

Jan 31, 2018: Audrey Watters on technology addiction Audrey Watters answers the question whether we’re ‘addicted’ to technology: I am hesitant to make any clinical diagnosis about …

Jan 30, 2018: No cash, no freedom? The ‘cashless’ society, eh? Every time someone talks about getting rid of cash, they are talking about getting rid of your freedom. Every …

Jan 30, 2018: Depression as an evolutionary advantage? It’s been almost 15 years since I suffered from depression. Since that time, I’ve learned to look after myself mentally and physically to …

Jan 30, 2018: Product managers as knowledge centralisers If you asked me what I do for a living, I’d probably respond that I work for Moodle, am co-founder of a co-op, and also do some consultancy. …

Jan 29, 2018: Using VR with kids I’ve seen conflicting advice regarding using Virtual Reality (VR) with kids, so it’s good to see this from the LSE: Children are becoming …

Jan 29, 2018: Augmented and Virtual Reality on the web There were a couple of exciting announcments last week about web technologies being used for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Using …

Jan 29, 2018: The horror of the Bett Show I’ve been to the Bett Show (formely known as BETT, which is how the author refers to it in this article) in many different guises. I’ve …

Jan 28, 2018: Issue #289: Loooooong week The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jan 27, 2018: More haste, less speed In the last couple of years, there’s been a move to give names to security vulnerabilities that would be otherwise too arcane to discuss in the …

Jan 27, 2018: Ethical design in social networks I’m thinking a lot about privacy and ethical design at the moment as part of my role leading Project MoodleNet. This article gives a short but …

Jan 26, 2018: Reading the web on your own terms Although it was less than a decade ago since the demise of the wonderful, simple, much-loved Google Reader, it seems like it was a different age …

Jan 26, 2018: The NSA (and GCHQ) can find you by your 'voiceprint' even if you're speaking a foreign language on a burner phone This is pretty incredible: Americans most regularly encounter this technology, known as speaker recognition, or speaker identification, when they wake …

Jan 26, 2018: Favourable winds “If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him.” (Seneca)

Jan 26, 2018: Listening to video game soundtracks can improve your productivity I can attest to the power of this, particularly the Halo soundtrack: As I write these words, a triumphant horn is erupting in my ear over the rhythmic …

Jan 26, 2018: Technology to connect and communicate People going to work in factories and offices is a relatively recent invention. For most of human history, people have worked from, or very near to, …

Jan 25, 2018: Are conferences a vestige of a bygone era? I’m certainly attending fewer conferences than I used to, but I thought that was just the changing nature of my work and ways of making a …

Jan 25, 2018: A useful IndieWeb primer I’ve followed the IndieWeb movement since its inception, but it’s always seemed a bit niche. I love (and use) the POSSE model, for …

Jan 25, 2018: Three most harmful addictions “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Jan 25, 2018: More on Facebook's 'trusted news' system Mike Caulfield reflects on Facebook’s announcement that they’re going to allow users to rate the sources of news in terms of …

Jan 25, 2018: Living in capitalism “We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by …

Jan 25, 2018: Anxiety is the price of convenience Remote working, which I’ve done for over five years now, sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Open your laptop while still in bed, raid the biscuit …

Jan 25, 2018: Different sorts of time Growing up, I always thought I’d write for a living. Initially, I wanted to be a journalist, but as it turns out, thinking and writing is about …

Jan 24, 2018: Some podcast recommendations Despite no longer having a commute, I still find time to listen to podcasts. They’re useful for a variety of reasons: I can be doing something …

Jan 24, 2018: DuckDuckGo moves beyond search This is excellent news: Today we’re taking a major step to simplify online privacy with the launch of fully revamped versions of our browser extension …

Jan 24, 2018: Facebook is under attack This year is a time of reckoning for the world’s most popular social network. From their own website (which I’ll link to via archive.org …

Jan 23, 2018: Where would your country be if the world was like Pangea? I love this kind of stuff. As my daughter commented when I showed her, “we would be able to walk to Spain!” The supercontinent of Pangea …

Jan 23, 2018: Amazon Go, talent and labour I’ll try and explain what Amazon Go is without sounding a note of incredulity and rolling my eyes. It’s a shop where shoppers submit to …

Jan 23, 2018: WTF is GDPR? I have to say, I was quite dismissive of the impact of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when I first heard about it. I thought …

Jan 22, 2018: Decentralisation 2.0 What this article calls ‘Decentralisation 2.0’ is actually redecentralising the web. There’s an urgent need: A huge percentage of …

Jan 22, 2018: First step “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” (Martin Luther King)

Jan 22, 2018: First step “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” (Martin Luther King)

Jan 22, 2018: The rise and rise of niche newsletters Email is an open, federated standard. You can’t kill it. The email inbox has become the modern day equivalent of the newsagent and offers a …

Jan 22, 2018: The backstory of Apple's emoji This is a lovely post, full of insights and humour. A designer, now at Google but originally an intern at Apple, talks about the first iterations of …

Jan 22, 2018: The backstory of Apple's emoji This is a lovely post, full of insights and humour. A designer, now at Google but originally an intern at Apple, talks about the first iterations of …

Jan 21, 2018: Tribal politics in social networks I’ve started buying the Financial Times Weekend along with The Observer each Sunday. Annoyingly, while the latter doesn’t have a paywall, …

Jan 21, 2018: Some advice for a happy family life Last weekend, and on the day before The Guardian changed to a new, smaller format, Tim Lott, one of my favourite columnists, wrote his last article. …

Jan 21, 2018: Issue #288: Socially and emotionally unavailable The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jan 20, 2018: A world without work I’m not sure that just because you look at a screen all day means you’ve got a ‘bullshit job’, but this article nevertheless …

Jan 20, 2018: Few wants “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” (Epictetus)

Jan 20, 2018: Film posters of the Russian avant-garde I love the style of these posters, published in a new book to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. So creative! Source: i-D

Jan 19, 2018: Atlas of Hillforts This makes me happy. Back in 2013, archaeologists at Oxford and Edinburgh teamed up to work on the Atlas of Hillforts. Their four-year mission was …

Jan 19, 2018: Gendered AI? Another fantastic article from Tim Carmody, a.k.a. Dr. Time: An Echo or an iPhone is not a friend, and it is not a pet. It is an alarm clock that …

Jan 19, 2018: Imprisoned in prejudices “The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs …

Jan 19, 2018: Barely anyone uses 2FA This is crazy. In a presentation at Usenix's Enigma 2018 security conference in California, Google software engineer Grzegorz Milka today revealed …

Jan 19, 2018: Courage “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.” (Anaïs Nin)

Jan 19, 2018: Using your phone wisely I’m a big fan of The Book of Life, a project of The School of Life. One of the latest updates to this project is about the pervasive use of …

Jan 19, 2018: The wilderness of intuition “At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. …

Jan 19, 2018: Can you measure social and emotional skills? Ben Williamson shines a light on the organisation behind the PISA testing regime moving into the realm of social and emotional skills: The OECD itself …

Jan 19, 2018: Bullet Journal like a Pro The inimitable Cal Newport, he of Deep Work fame, turns his attention to Bullet Journals: My main concern, however, is that this system, as …

Jan 18, 2018: Choose your connected silo The Verge reports back from CES, the yearly gathering where people usually get excited about shiny thing. This year, however, people are bit more …

Jan 18, 2018: Game-changing modular wheels This is fantastic: The Revolve is a full-size 26-inch spoked wheel that can be folded to a third its diameter and 60 percent less space, and back …

Jan 18, 2018: Game-changing modular wheels This is fantastic: The Revolve is a full-size 26-inch spoked wheel that can be folded to a third its diameter and 60 percent less space, and back …

Jan 17, 2018: The full complexity of life “The point is… to live one’s life in the full complexity of what one is, which is something much darker, more contradictory, more …

Jan 17, 2018: From Homer to texting and Twitter I love everything about this post: Jason eventually got me to see that “Ask Dr. Time” didn’t have to be an advice column in a conventional sense. What …

Jan 17, 2018: Would you be nuked? In the light of the recent false alarm about the nuclear attack on her home of Hawaii, Amy Burvall shared this website in our Slack channel. You can …

Jan 16, 2018: Where did 'Å' come from? I’m (sadly) pretty monolingual, but as an historian by training find things like this fascinating: Regardless of who originally penned the idea, …

Jan 16, 2018: Getting better at using tools “Getting better at using tools comes to us, in part, when the tools challenge us, and this challenge often occurs just because the tools are not …

Jan 16, 2018: Cool decentralisation resources from MozFest I missed the Mozilla Festival at the end of October 2017 as I’d already booked my family holiday by the time they announced the dates. …

Jan 16, 2018: This isn't the golden age of free speech You’d think with anyone, anywhere, being able to post anything to a global audience, that this would be a golden age of free speech. Right? And …

Jan 16, 2018: Open source apps for agile project teams A really interesting post about open source apps, most of which I’ve never come across! In this list, there are no project management apps, no …

Jan 15, 2018: Robo-advisors are coming for your job (and that's OK) Algorithms and artificial intelligence are an increasingly-normal part of our everyday lives, notes this article, so the next step is in the …

Jan 15, 2018: Opposite of manliness “The opposite of manliness isn’t cowardice; it’s technology.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Jan 14, 2018: Thought Shrapnel #287: My bad The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jan 12, 2018: Reasons to be cheerful David Byrne, a talented musician and author of one of my favourite books, has started a great new project: I imagine, like a lot of you who look back …

Jan 12, 2018: Attention is an arms race Cory Doctorow writes: There is a war for your attention, and like all adversarial scenarios, the sides develop new countermeasures and then new …

Jan 12, 2018: Barcelona to go open source by 2019 Great news for the open source community! The City has plans for 70% of its software budget to be invested in open source software in the coming year. …

Jan 11, 2018: In a dark place Last year, I remember being amazed by how black a new substance was that’s been created by scientists. Called Vantablack, it’s like a …

Jan 11, 2018: How to build a consensual social network Here’s another article that was linked to from the source of a post I shared recently. The paragraph quoted here is from the section entitled …

Jan 11, 2018: Bigger the dream... “The bigger the dream, the more important the team.” (Robin Sharma)

Jan 10, 2018: Money in, blood out A marvellous post by Ryan Holiday, who is well versed in Stoic philosophy: Seneca, the Roman statesman and writer, spoke often about wealthy Romans …

Jan 10, 2018: Venture Communism? As part of my Moodle work, I’ve been looking at GDPR and decentralised technologies, so I found the following interesting. It’s worth …

Jan 10, 2018: Fake amusement park This made me smile: The show is called “Fake Theme Parks” and it debuts Friday, January 12 at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. Fifty artists created a …

Jan 9, 2018: Questions to ask before taking your next job This is a fantastic resource for those who are thinking about their next move. Increasingly, it’s less about a one-way fit of you being right …

Jan 9, 2018: Dreamers who do “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Jan 9, 2018: Deliberate rest, cognitive momentum, and differentiated work hours Appropriately enough, it was during a lunchtime run that I listened to the latest episode of Jocelyn K. Glei’s excellent podcast. It featured …

Jan 9, 2018: You get paid what other people think you're worth Great post by Seth Godin: Yes, we frequently sell ourselves too short. We don't ask for compensation commensurate with the value we create. It's a …

Jan 8, 2018: Meltdown and Spectre explained by xkcd There’s not much we mere mortals can do about the latest microprocessor-based vulnerabilites, except ensure we apply security patches …

Jan 8, 2018: Meaningless work causes depression As someone who has suffered in the past from depression, and still occasionally suffers from anxiety, I find this an interesting article: If you are …

Jan 8, 2018: It doesn't matter if you don't use AI assistants if everyone else does Email is an awesome system. It’s open, decentralised, and you can pick whoever you want to provide your emails. The trouble is, of course, that …

Jan 7, 2018: Thought Shrapnel #286: New beginnings The latest issue of the newsletter hit inboxes earlier today! 💥 Read 🔗 Subscribe

Jan 7, 2018: Social media short-circuits democracy I’m wondering whether to delete all my social media accounts, or whether I should stay and fight. The trouble is, no technology is neutral, it …

Jan 7, 2018: Spain is on the wrong timezone As an historian, I find this fascinating: So why are Spaniards living behind their geographic time zone? In 1940, General Francisco Franco changed …

Jan 7, 2018: Foucault understood the power of ambiguity To have a settled position on anything is anachronistic. There has to be an element of ambiguity in your work and thinking, otherwise you’re …

Jan 6, 2018: Fridays are a social construct I feel like I could have written this post. I agree entirely: Some of the phenomena governing people's schedules are natural. It does get dark at …

Jan 6, 2018: Privacy-based browser extensions I visit Product Hunt on a regular basis. While there’s plenty of examples of hyped apps and services that don’t last six months, …

Jan 6, 2018: Twitter isn't going to ban Trump, no matter what Twitter have confirmed what everyone knew all along: they’re not going to ban Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does. It’s too good …

Jan 5, 2018: Charisma instead of hierarchy? An interesting interview with Fred Turner, former journalist, Stanford professor, and someone who spends a lot of time studying the technology and …

Jan 5, 2018: Education is about the journey, not the destination I’m a big fan of Cathy Davidson, and look forward to reading her new book. In this article, she explains that we’ve unleashed an …

Jan 5, 2018: Mozilla is creating an Open Leadership Map The Mozilla Foundation may have shut down pretty much all of its learning programmes, but it’s still doing interesting stuff around Open …

Jan 4, 2018: Life in likes England’s Children’s Commissioner has released a report entitled ‘Life in Likes’ which has gathered lots of attention in my …

Jan 3, 2018: Dark kitchens, dark factories... is this the future of automation? I missed this at the end of last year, perhaps because I live in a small town in the north of England rather than a bustling metropolis: Welcome to …

Jan 2, 2018: Capitalism can make you obese From a shocking photojournalism story: With imported soft drinks costing the same or less than bottled water, in a country where tap water is not safe …

Jan 2, 2018: It's not advertising, it's statistical behaviour-modification The rest of this month’s WIRED magazine is full of its usual hubris, but the section on ‘fixing the internet’ is actually pretty …

Jan 2, 2018: How to prevent being 'cryptojacked' The Opera web browser has joined Brave in allowing users to turn on ‘cryptojacking’ protection: Bitcoins are really hot right now, but did …

Jan 2, 2018: Fred Wilson's predictions for 2018 Fred Wilson is author of the incredibly popular blog AVC. He prefaces his first post of the year in the following way: This is a post that I am …

Jan 2, 2018: Albert Wenger's reading list Albert Wenger, a venture capitalist and author of World After Capital, invited his (sizeable) blog readership to suggest some books he should read …

Jan 1, 2018: Data-driven society: utopia or dystopia? Good stuff from (Lord) Jim Knight, who cites part of his speech in the House of Lords about data privacy: The use of data to fuel our economy is …

Jan 1, 2018: Are social networks a public health issue? I think the author’s correct to frame things in terms of addiction: Because we are all hooked, it can be hard to recognise your social media …

Jan 1, 2018: Commit to improving your security in 2018 We don’t live in a cosy world where everyone hugs fluffy bunnies who shoot rainbows out of their eyes. Hacks and data breaches affect everyone: …

Jan 1, 2018: To 'quit' isn't necessarily the opposite of having 'grit' This is a useful way of framing things: “Quit” doesn’t have to be the opposite of “grit.” This is where “strategic quitting” comes in. Once you’ve …

Jan 1, 2018: Now are the Olympics “And if anything laborious, or pleasant or glorious inglourious be presented to you, remember that now is the contest, now are the Olympic …

Jan 1, 2018: How to run an Open Source project Although I don’t use elementaryOS on my own laptops, we do use it on the family touchscreen PC in our main living space. It’s a …

Dec 31, 2017: The internet needs distributed DNS This article talks about hyperlinks, because that’s what mainstream audiences understand, but the issue is the internet’s Domain Name …

Dec 31, 2017: Succeeding with innovation projects There’s some great advice in this article for those, like me, who are leading innovation projects in 2018: Your role is to make noise around the …

Dec 31, 2017: Facebook is an instrument of the state This should not surprise us: Facebook now seems to be explicitly admitting that it also intends to follow the censorship orders of the U.S. …

Dec 31, 2017: The importance of downtime There’s a few books I read every morning, on repeat. One of them, Daily Rituals, details the everyday working lives of famous writers, painters, …

Dec 30, 2017: Culture eats strategy for breakfast A collection of articles on organisational culture from the Harvard Business Review. I need to examine them in more depth, but the diagram above and …

Dec 30, 2017: Caulfield's predictions for 2018 Some good stuff in Mike Caulfield’s “somewhat U.S.-centric predictions” for the coming year. In particular: Creation of …

Dec 30, 2017: The best album covers of 2017 It was only last week that I was telling my children how they’d missed out on the joy of exploring CD inserts to find detailed information on …

Dec 30, 2017: Moving down Maslow's hierarchy of needs using OER? David Wiley, the standard bearer for Open Educational Resources, says: Many of us believe that education is an incredibly powerful tool in the fight …

Dec 30, 2017: Potentially huge wind farm proposed in the North Sea Dogger Bank, which thousands of years ago as Doggerland would have been visible from the North East of England where I live, is the proposed site for …

Dec 30, 2017: Few posessions “A wise man needs few things to make him happy; nothing can satisfy a fool. That is why nearly all men are wretched.” (François de La …

Dec 30, 2017: Few posessions “A wise man needs few things to make him happy; nothing can satisfy a fool. That is why nearly all men are wretched.” (François de La …

Dec 30, 2017: Few possessions “A wise man needs few things to make him happy; nothing can satisfy a fool. That is why nearly all men are wretched.” (François de La …

Dec 29, 2017: Is that you, Mother? Umm… Several studies have found that, on average, there’s some physical similarity between one’s parent and one’s partner. That is, …

Dec 29, 2017: How do you show off your privilege when everyone's got an iPhone? It uses to be all about conspicuous consumption and bling… However, the democratisation of consumer goods has made them far less useful as a …

Dec 29, 2017: Lunatics All are lunatics, but he who can analyse his delusion is called a philosopher (Ambrose Bierce)

Dec 29, 2017: How to defuse remote work issues Good advice here about resolving difficulties with a remote co-worker. When it comes to delivering feedback, use the same formula that you would in …

Dec 29, 2017: The benefits of decentralised decision-making I’m not sure I agree with the conclusions of this article, as I don’t agree with the (made-up) premises. At least it begins well: As Henry …

Dec 29, 2017: It's called Echo for a reason That last-minute Christmas gift sounds like nothing but unadulterated fun after reading this, doesn’t it? It is a significant thing to allow a …

Dec 29, 2017: Your New Year's resolution for 2018? Ditch Facebook. If something’s been pre-filtered by Cory Doctorow and Jason Kottke then you know it’s going to be good. Sure enough, the open memo, to all …

Dec 29, 2017: The Horizon stops here Audrey Watters is delightfully blunt about the New Media Consortium, known for their regular ‘Horizon reports’, shutting down: While I am …

Dec 29, 2017: Put a number next to someone's name and there will be pressure for it to increase In her review of Daniel Koretz’s new book on testing in schools, Diane Ravitch reminds us of Campbell’s law: In 1979, the psychologist …

Dec 28, 2017: Does it take Trump to make badges go mainstream? Perversely, it might take something like the Trump administration to make Open Badges work at scale. Why? Because Republicans don’t trust Higher …

Dec 28, 2017: How to get people to pay you what you're worth Good advice in this article for people who (like me) are asked regularly whether someone can ‘pick your brain’. If you decide you do want …

Dec 28, 2017: Building a home online I discovered ‘John Henry’, the pseudonymous author of this blog, after finding and sharing another post from him earlier this week. He …

Dec 28, 2017: Purely technological answers to human problems don't work In a hugely surprising move, Facebook has found that marking an article as ‘disputed’ on a user’s news feed and putting a red flag …

Dec 27, 2017: Nobody likes a goody two-shoes This is an incredible entry in the School of Life’s Book of Life: The sickness of the good child is that they have no experience of other people …

Dec 27, 2017: Life in the outrage economy Rafael Behr nails it when he says we live in an ‘outrage economy’: Rage is contagious. It spreads from one sweaty digital crevice to the …

Dec 27, 2017: Howard Rheingold on cooperation as a solution to our present woes Howard Rheingold is one of the smartest and most colourful people I’ve ever met. One of his books, Net Smart, was very useful to me while …

Dec 26, 2017: We're still figuring out what it means for everyone to be connected Part of what’s happened over the last 18 months can be attributed to us just getting used to having daily interactions with people around the …

Dec 26, 2017: GDPR could break the big five's monopoly stranglehold on our data Almost everyone has one or more account with the following companies: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Between them they know more …

Dec 26, 2017: What would a version of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for society look like? I like the notion put forward by Susan Wu in this article — although Maslow’s framework was actually based on co-operation, so re-thinking it as …

Dec 26, 2017: Decentralised projects to explore in 2018 This is a great post, giving an overview of lots of projects focusing on the decentralisation of technology we use everyday, as well as that which …

Dec 26, 2017: Brexit Britain means food prescriptions on the NHS I cannot believe this is happening in my country as we prepare to enter 2018. Food banks and developments like these are born of political choice, not …

Dec 25, 2017: What to tell your kids about Santa Claus My kids, who are ten and six years of age respectively, blatantly don’t believe in Father Christmas. After leaving out a mince pie and glass of …

Dec 24, 2017: 2018: the year of Linux on the desktop? There’s a perpetual joke in open source circles that next year will be ‘the year of Linux on the desktop’. GNU/Linux, of course, is …

Dec 24, 2017: What you read determines who you are Shane Parrish from Farnam Street has written an ‘annual letter’ to his audience, much like his hero Warren Buffett. I particularly liked …

Dec 24, 2017: The immorality of retaining wealth The image I’ve chosen for this post came via social.coop rather than the article cited, but it does indicate where non-inherited wealth comes …

Dec 24, 2017: Sticks and stones This article, originally given as a lecture, focuses on the worrying fact that we no longer seem to know how to disagree with one another any more. …

Dec 24, 2017: Blockchains are boring The author of this article works in finance and describes himself as “whatever the opposite of a futurist is”. He does, however, make some …

Dec 23, 2017: The upside of kids watching Netflix instead of TV In our house, on the (very) rare occasions we’re watching live television that includes advert breaks, I mute the sound and do a humourous …

Dec 23, 2017: Human Extinction Via Audrey Watters, this is incredible. Read the whole thing; capitalism can’t, and won’t, save us: Encourage the buying of Coca-Cola soda …

Dec 23, 2017: How to be a consultant I stumbled across this via Hacker News. This guy basically explains how consulting works, with some great advice. Here’s three parts that stood …

Dec 23, 2017: Ethical business means fair pay (and co-ownership?) Partly a marketing move, for sure, but this move to ethical business is encouraging. See also Buffer’s transparent salary calculator. The next …

Dec 22, 2017: Reputation on the dark net I know someone who lives in London and gets weed delivered through his letterbox from the dark net with Amazon-like efficiency. So I can entirely …

Dec 22, 2017: Is it pointless to ban autonomous killing machines? The authors do have a point: Suppose the UN were to implement a preventive ban on the further development of all autonomous weapons technology. …

Dec 22, 2017: Your brain is not a computer I finally got around to reading this article after it was shared in so many places I frequent over the last couple of days. As someone who has studied …

Dec 22, 2017: Edward Snowden wants to help you use your Android smartphone to protect yourself Since 2013, Edward Snowden has been advising people and creating software. The Haven app he’s been working on l interesting, and given …

Dec 22, 2017: High-performing schools in England less accessible since 2010 Same old Tories, defunding education and entrenching privilege: Access to high performing schools in England has become more geographically unequal …

Dec 22, 2017: Silicon Valley looking to skills from the Humanities Cathy Davidson writing about the subjects that teach the kinds of skills that employers are really looking for: Google’s studies concur with others …

Dec 21, 2017: Problems with reputation in the gig economy The solution to the problems we see with platform capitalism is, of course, platform co-operativism, also known as allowing these workers to own the …

Dec 21, 2017: Digital literacies and 'proximal depravity' Martin Weller on how algorithms feeding on engagement draw us towards ever more radical stuff online: There are implications for this. For the …

Dec 21, 2017: How 'flu kills people Nasty: After entering someone's body—usually via the eyes, nose or mouth—the influenza virus begins hijacking human cells in the nose and throat to …