Author: yorksranter

We live in a crisis of responsibility. Consider this twitter conversation with Lux Alptraum and myself. This was one of those good moments on Twitter; the very different networks in my feed crossed over, generating insight. I had just seen, via Simon Willison’s feed, this embarrassing story about that time futurvangelistic technogger Peter Diamandis presumably…

Read More Links on the crisis of responsibility

Hancock does *not* rule out even tougher measures incl: curfewsclosing nurseriesending support bubblesmasks outsideone hour exercise "I don't want to speculate", he says, because most imp thing is not whether Govt strengthens rules but whether people follow them. — Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) January 10, 2021 How should we understand this? One theory would be that…

Read More Three Matt Hancocks

So Matt Hancock is doing the rounds of the sundays, dropping hints that will be briefed out in more detail without attribution later. Perhaps this time’s the charm and the virus will be defeated by the sheer might of talking points distribution. Hell, it worked on us to the extent of getting this shower elected…

Read More A big conversation on seagulls, and after

So how much money has the government spent on the contact-tracing programme? Silly question. Everyone knows the number is £12bn. Or maybe £22bn. I am generally sceptical of the National Audit Office; it’s managed to mission-creep into being a general purpose policy evaluation group, but its terms of reference haven’t kept up, so it has…

Read More how much do you think we spent on contact tracing?

During the first lockdown I got around to watching the General Magic documentary. Having worked in the mobile industry for practically all my career so far, I am not surprisingly fascinated by the history of the technology and the repeated roads not taken. General Magic was a spinoff from Apple in the 1990s that tried…

Read More Three links on failure in Silicon Valley

This raises the question of why it’s always “grade inflation” we hear about and never “grade growth” or “educational productivity improvement”. A while ago I responded to this Chris Cook piece about The One Where They Decided To Downgrade Everyone To Match Their Class Except For Subjects Only Rich Kids Do – remember that? it’s…

Read More looking back on an omnishambles

This long read looking back at the 1978 smallpox outbreak in Birmingham is a remarkable document of mundane competence. Although the origin of the outbreak was a laboratory cock-up, the local authority swung into action, mobilizing local, national, and international resources, tracing contacts, isolating patients, and ring-vaccinating the bug out of existence. This is Dr.…

Read More Public incompetence is a moral issue

A deep dive in what the Tigray vs Ethopian central government fight is about. People in the DRC President’s entourage keep dying unexpectedly. Some of them caught COVID-19 but at least one was definitely assassinated and another had both a heart attack and multiple blows to the head. What’s happening? A group of Kenyans wanted…

Read More Four links from a consistently strong blog