Tag: The Guardian (page 1 of 23)

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 “jam tomorrow”.

Otegha Uwagba

Where does the idea that we can achieve, or should even be aiming for, endless productivity come from? Arguably we’ve been barrelling towards this conclusion for as long as capitalism has existed, but the technological advances of the past few decades have further eroded the barriers around work that stop it seeping into every aspect of our lives. There is a widespread cultural fetishisation of productivity, with overwork framed as a virtue by employers desperate to find ways to motivate a workforce for whom the traditional rewards – a decent salary, pension, job security – often no longer apply.

Source: This year, I stopped being productive. Why is it so hard to come to terms with that? | The Guardian

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? I’d just started suffering from migraines.

There are lots of different types of triggers, but common to all types is stress. That’s not so good if you’re looking to be employed in Fighter Command.

In many ways, I dodged a bullet (literally and metaphorically!) by not joining the RAF, but migraines have been a constant struggle. In the past few years I’ve had a lot fewer of them, something I put down to reducing my stress levels and taking an L-Theanine supplement every day.

However, this article focuses on the benefits of a plant-based diet for migraine sufferers. I stopped eating meat in 2017 and then eliminated fish too, turning vegetarian in January of this year. It looks like that might have been a great idea not only from an animal welfare point of view, but in terms of my own welfare too!

Green leafy vegetables

Health experts are calling for more research into diet and migraines after doctors revealed a patient who had suffered severe and debilitating headaches for more than a decade completely eliminated them after adopting a plant-based diet.

He had tried prescribed medication, yoga and meditation, and cut out potential trigger foods in an effort to reduce the severity and frequency of his severe headaches – but nothing worked. The migraines made it almost impossible to perform his job, he said.

But within a month of starting a plant-based diet that included lots of dark-green leafy vegetables, his migraines disappeared. The man has not had a migraine in more than seven years, and cannot remember the last time he had a headache. The case was reported in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Source: Man’s severe migraines ‘completely eliminated’ on plant-based diet | Nutrition | The Guardian

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, or shaping the way we think.

Image by fabio on Unsplash

The great unsolved problem of our time is how to deal with – and where necessary curb – the unaccountable power of these giants. The first step on that road is to reach a collective understanding of what kind of power they actually wield. And for that we need a taxonomy. In an earlier era, the political theorist Steven Lukes proposed one. There were, he said, three kinds of power: the ability to compel people to do what they don’t want to do, the ability to stop them doing something they want to do and the ability to shape the way they think. This last one was useful in addressing the power of influential media owners (Rupert Murdoch, for example) in the old media ecosystem. But although it still applies in some ways to social media, it’s less useful for the networked ecosystem we now inhabit; we need another category.

“Platform power” is one possibility. The tech giants all possess it to a greater or lesser degree. In Apple’s case, for example, it owns and controls two important platforms – ie, software systems on which other agents can build businesses: they are the operating systems on which its devices run and its app store, which decides what apps are allowed on Apple devices. Google owns several platforms – a search engine and its associated advertising marketplace, the Android mobile operating system, YouTube and Google cloud services. Facebook (whose holding company is now rebranded as Meta) also owns several – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp; Twitter owns, er, Twitter; Amazon owns its marketplace and cloud services; and Microsoft owns the Windows/Office platform and a fast-growing cloud service, Azure.

Source: How can we tame the tech giants now that they control society’s infrastructure? | The Guardian