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Jon Lawrence set off with a cracking idea. One of the most important intellectual projects of the last decade has been the so-called replication crisis, the effort to find out if major psychology experiments’ results can be repeated. It turns out they can’t; a combination of stubborn prejudice, poor statistical methods, and academic career incentives…

Read More Me, Me, Me? In Search of Community

Here’s a topic that’s bound to delight everyone. The best way I can think of to understand the social place of the British monarchy is as a very modern influencer content-marketing and celebrity management operation, the influencer house of Windsor. Starting in the late 1960s, there was a deliberate project to reinvent the institution in…

Read More The monarchy as a content-marketing operation

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

When I was despairing about the very possibility of accountability and coming up with this post, I was thinking of things like this piece from Josephine Cumbo in this weekend’s Financial Times: Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request showed that since 2018 the Financial Conduct Authority has opened formal investigations into 29 firms…

Read More Rotten

Around the end of August I was despairing of political accountability on the grounds that the effectiveness of what is generally called spin, the practice of tactical political publicity, seemed to have improved significantly since about 2005. What really worried me about it is that if it’s a technology, it can be improved, and as…

Read More Cataloguing spin

So it looks like I’m not the only one thinking about Johnson and acracy: Johnson’s explanation for all these things is that he suffers from the classical vice of akrasia. He knows what the right thing to do is but acts against his better judgement through lack of self-control. He is, in Aristotle’s words, like…

Read More Acracy followup

Following Dan Davies’ tracers here. The guy who the care-home industry pushed out to pick a row with the prime minister this week, hoping it would divert attention from their atrocious labour practices and how they helped their customers catch COVID-19, turns out to be the very same whose £100m-big operation got caught perpetrating £20k…

Read More Alternative, Terrible Models of Ownership

There has been quite some concern about what policy Labour can pursue in the context of a Conservative government that has essentially abandoned fiscal austerity as a goal. The good news is that there’s been a natural experiment on this in the United States, as this salty tweet points out – the $1200 emergency aid…

Read More Can’t Buy a Thrill: Keep the Furlough Scheme

James Butler has thoughts! You should probably read’em! However, this take seems stale: Such permeating cynicism arises above all from depoliticisation: the claim, advanced over the past few decades, that ideological difference is dead, markets ought to be insulated from political contestation, and politics is merely a set of technical quibbles between administrators. Depoliticisation has…

Read More Depoliticisation and after