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Crackdown on activists highlights Saudi paradox
It’s interesting that people seem to expect liberalisation in terms of social repression to be somehow linked to liberalisation politically, when in reality the reforms in the former sense are limited and not at all connected to reforms in the latter sense. Getting excited when an autocrat makes some token shift in social mores, and expecting that to lead to a loosening of his grip on power, seems naive.
autocracy  politics  @linklog  saudiarabia 
may 2018 by robmiller
Insight: The Edinburgh clinic helping sex workers stay safe - The Scotsman
A compassionate and human take on sex work in Edinburgh, as debate rages between various approaches to tackling crime and protecting sex workers.
sexism  @linklog  feminism  prostitution  edinburgh  scotland  sexwork 
november 2017 by robmiller
Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman: ‘I find the idea that there was a posh cabal offensive’ | Media | The Guardian
An almost perfect example of an interviewer handing someone some rope and watching them unwittingly fashion a remarkably sturdy noose out of it
@linklog  fashion  vogue 
november 2017 by robmiller
A Deep Dive Into ‘Grand Designs’, the Greatest Show on British Television - VICE
Joel Golby on Grand Designs:

> "But it is a very Tory television programme, we have to address that. It's not as Tory as, say, everything Kirstie Allsopp has ever been in, or that show about Miranda Hart walking around a garden with her mum, or A Question of Sport. It's not as Tory as Location, Location, Location or Homes Under the Hammer even, when home-ownership and by-to-let probate resale is fetishised to something dark and nearly sexual. But it is, fundamentally, a very Tory TV programme. Middle class couples decide to jazz up their marriage by, instead of having an affair, ploughing £1.2 million into a south London refurb project. CEOs of software companies agonising over slate. In the midst of a decade-long housing crisis, the very notion of Grand Designs is profane: the idea that, amongst the hundreds of thousands who can't or won't ever afford to get on the housing ladder, with a crisis in terms of sheer buildings being built, that an entire generation may be lost to renting: that in amongst all that, a 38-year-old couple with two daughters called Poppy are agonising over which particular £60,000 windows to import from Germany. The housing market is divided neatly in two: below, hell; above, glorious heaven."
granddesigns  class  property  politics  uk  humour  @linklog 
october 2017 by robmiller
Fashion, Maslow and Facebook's control of social
> "Indeed, when something becomes fashionable, it will inevitably become unfashionable - "no-one goes there anymore - it's too crowded". The zeitgeist changes both of itself and because of your success. So the very fact that any social media company has found a behaviour that people want means that at some point they'll stop wanting it. People stopped wearing the new look, they stopped wearing miniskirts, and they stopped wearing punk. There is always a pendulum. A good designer can feel this before it happens, not after, and so for Facebook: when Facebook says "games have great metrics and make us lots of money, but we think they make the Facebook experience worse so we'll kill them", and, more recently, when Snap says "we think the algorithmic linear feed is bad", this is also a proposal, and, again, it might be wrong. It might be suggested by detailed daily metrics, or a vague instinctive sense of, again, the zeitgeist, but the crucial point is that whether this is right - whether people like it - is never fundamentally determined by the company. This applies at every level of scale - whether it's creating an entirely new product or tuning some small feature based on a daily or hourly feedback loop - Facebook doesn't determine what the feedback tells it."
facebook  social  fashion  trends  @linklog 
october 2017 by robmiller
From A to B: Tales Of Modern Motoring (1993) - YouTube
A brilliant documentary series from the early 90s starring travelling salesman, their cars, and their social hangups. It perfectly captures the outward self-assuredness of post-Thatcher Britain. along with the paranoia that lurked beneath; everyone on the make, everyone on the take, everyone worried about where they stood.
society  economy  car  driving  @linklog 
october 2017 by robmiller
Gerhard Steidl Is Making Books an Art Form | The New Yorker
A beautiful profile, from earlier this year, of a craftsman of uncommon dedication.
art  publishing  books  gerhardsteidl  germany  @linklog 
october 2017 by robmiller
Containment Won't Solve the Problems Trump Poses - The Atlantic
The disturbing story of how US intelligence agencies, in their attempts to contain Trump, are pushing themselves out of democratic control.

> "To what extent does the president remain in the military chain of command? It seems incredible that the military would outright defy a presidential order. But not hearing it? Not understanding it? Not acting on it promptly? Holding back information that might provoke an unwanted presidential reaction?"
politics  usa  @linklog  Trump 
october 2017 by robmiller
The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” | The New Yorker
A brilliant look at the surprisingly repressive, misogynistic, and generally horrifying world of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
thomasthetankengine  politics  newyorker  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
The Azerbaijani Laundromat - OCCRP
A brilliant summary of investigations into the Azerbaijan laundromat, a complex international money-laundering scheme, the result of collaborative effort between the OCCRP, news agencies across Europe, and several NGOs. The investigation reveals money laundering, graft, and corruption on a grand scale, along with the complicity of European institutions and banks.
corruption  moneylaundering  azerbaijan  occrp  investigativejournalism  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
Stumbling and Mumbling: The harm of high housing costs
An exploration of the widespread and more indirect economic harm caused by high house prices.
property  economics  houseprices  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
Stumbling and Mumbling: Corbyn's success: centrists' failure
A great explanation of why many AB/upper-middle-class professionals are pro-Corbyn, when you might otherwise (or might in previous generations) have expected them to be centrists. The short answer: professionals aren't so middle class any more, if you view class through the lens of property ownership.
jeremycorbyn  politics  centrism  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
Disruption gets results, but you also need to be liked | WIRED UK
Great piece by Russell Davies from 2015, in which he foresees the regulatory issues Uber are having in London now.
uber  disruption  technology  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
Cancer’s Invasion Equation | The New Yorker
A great article on cancer from Siddhartha Mukherjee, who wrote "The Emperor of All Maladies". While oncologists have primarily looked at tumours themselves in exploring why cancer takes root in some people and not others, Mukherjee explains the other side of the equation: the role of the host body itself. He uses the metaphor of "seed and soil", which is a really great encapsulation of it; he's a really wonderfully accessible writer.
cancer  newyorker  medicine  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
"Hold the Egg Sandwich: Egyptian TV Is Calling"
A brilliant article on an Egyptian bodega owner in Queens who is one of Egypt's go-to commentators on US issues. There's no deception – he's not pretending to be anything he's not, and the TV stations know about his job. There's something about the wisdom of crowds here I think, and about all human life passing through places like corner shops; that, by being exposed all day to the multifarious views of his customers, he's probably _more_ informed than someone inside the political bubble.
egypt  newyork  media  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
"The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea"
A brilliant behind-the-scenes trip in North Korea as we edge closer to a potential nuclear confrontation. Includes conversations with senior officials and the best understanding of the regime's rationale that I've personally read.
northkorea  politics  trump  kimjongun  korea  nuclearweapons  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller
Russell Davies on traffic and production
Russell Davies's classic Campaign column on why traffic and production are so incredible. The paragraph on traffic is great:

> "If you haven't done it recently, spend some time with traffic. They experience the world in a deeper way than you and I. They exist in time and space, but also perceive dimensions of cost and practicality, of real time, pitch time and lunch time. They negotiate tides of creative entropy, waves of management paranoia and the tsunamis of new business. An expert traffic person can weedle, cajole, threaten and condemn with the flick of an eyebrow. They know where all the bodies are buried and when to dig them up again. They know how long things should take, how long they will actually take and how long they should tell you they'll take. Watching a seasoned traffic person dragging work out of a gnarled old creative team is like watching that infamous imaginary fight between the bear and the shark. Except you know the bear will win, because deadlines must be met. Traffic makes ideas happen."
advertising  media  marketing  projectmanagement  @linklog 
september 2017 by robmiller

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