» Links ¦ What You Can Get Away With

Times Like These – Flying Rodent argues that we take the Times far too seriously – indeed, the fact that its habitual grovelling to power isn’t a national joke says a lot about us as a nation.
A different cluetrain – Charles Stross on some of the factors that will drive the politics of the future.
The history of a political surge – A Green perspective on the processes that have driven the recent growth in that party’s membership.
Disaster – Simon Wren-Lewis on the economic hole we’re currently in, and not showing any signs of climbing out of.
Has The Good Right got it right? – Alex Marsh on the latest (though oddly pre-election, not post) manifesto setting out yet another new direction for conservatism.

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The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman – Marilyn Vos Savant solved the Monty Hall Problem, even if a lot of people wanted to tell her that she hadn’t.
Is Work Good? – “the problem that comes with this one-eyed focus on paid work is that there is a grave danger it reinforces the value of paid work only at the cost of reducing the value of other human activities and social roles. Paid work is only one kind of work; and doing paid work is only one way of being human.”
Are You Man Enough for the Men’s Rights Movement? – GQ meets some of the MRAs, and it’s not an edifying spectacle. (Warning: article contains discussion of rape and abuse, as well as the usual MRA bullshit)
Why Natalie Bennett should shrug off this ‘humiliation’ – “Therefore, nobody in opposition – not Bennett, not Ed Miliband, not Nigel Farage – should ever get into a conversation about how they will fund something without first underlining that the way things exist at the moment is completely wrecked. The status quo is broken; it’s not even static, it’s constantly worsening.”
Democratising the Scottish NHS: A recent experiment in electing Health Board Directors did not prove successful – Relevant to my last post: just making a position elected doesn’t magically create more democracy.

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What ISIS Really Wants – Long but very good piece about the history, ideology and theology of the Islamic State.
The national interest demands it, let’s ban golf courses – If you think solar farms are a waste of productive land, why do you not protest about an even bigger waste?
The Austerity Con – A good explainer of the situation by Simon Wren-Lewis in the LRB.
How I became an erratic Marxist – Having just been writing an essay on Marx for my MA, I found this piece by Yanis Varoufakis fascinating, but I think it’ll be of general interest too.
Two Polarities of Anti-Politics: why trying to be friends with both Ukip and Green supporters won’t work for the mainstream parties – Interesting research from Southampton University on what drives support for UKIP and the Greens.

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Anti-Business – Chris Dillow on why being ‘anti-business’ isn’t a bad thing, and the difference between business and markets.
Universal Basic Income as the Social Vaccine of the 21st Century – An interesting new way of thinking about the idea of basic income.
The narrow politics of slogans and symptoms – Alex Marsh follows on from one of my posts and looks at the lack of content behind the slogans.
The tyranny of the short-term: why democracy struggles with issues like climate change – Not sure how much of this I agree with, but an interesting look at some of the problems with our current mode of democracy.
The mystery of Mingering Mike: the soul legend who never existed – Fascinating tale of a made up musical career that’s now an art exhibition.

And as a visual bonus, take a look at this graphic of exploration in the Solar System.

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You Thought London Mayoral Candidates Couldn’t Get Worse – Alex Harrowell on how mayoral systems promote celebrity politics over policies, with the inevitable results.
The Share-the-Scraps economy – Is the ‘share economy’ merely a euphemism to hide the monetization of every part of our lives?
IEA Exhumes Flat Earth Idea – Zelo Street points out several (though by no means all) of the IEA’s ‘let’s pave over the railways’ proposal.
Two spells that need to be broken – Very interesting piece by John Pugh MP for the Social Liberal Forum on the mistakes the party made in becoming part of the establishment.
No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer – Cory Doctorow on how the Snoopers’ Charter and other mass surveillance schemes keep getting proposed because there’s a lot of money in them for some people.

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Atomic – Flying Rodent proposes a new direction for the military. “I put it to you that the track record of unusable weapons has proven beyond doubt to be vastly superior to the performance of the ones that we actually can deploy.”
18 Scientists On What They Actually Think About Climate Change – Yes, it’s Buzzfeed, but it’s interesting.
Why we don’t have electronic voting – A simple explainer of the myriad problems that need to be solved before it could happen.
9 questions about Saudi Arabia you were too embarrassed to ask – Sure there’s something we can all learn from this.
How To Tell If You Are In A Soft Science Fiction Novel – “There are Core people and there are Rim people. Core people wear silver, gender-neutral clothing and love fascism and artificial light. Rim people wear floor-length WWII-era trench coats and love modified libertarianism. These are the only two kinds of people. Plus there’s one ocean planet full of mermaids.”

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My name is Emerson, Steve Emerson – Fox News’s branding of Birmingham as city where non-Muslims don’t go wasn’t an accident, but part of a wider skein of the ‘anti-terrorist’ movement.
Why Britain Doesn’t Need A ‘UKIP Of The Left’ – I’ve been trying to do a a similar post to this myself for ages, but it explains how the question ‘why isn’t there a UKIP of a the left?’ rests on flawed assumptions.
What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry – But aside from that, Prime Minister, how was your day?
Davos delegates don’t care about inequality or your debt – What will (keeping the rich happy) and won’t (keeping you happy) be discussed at the World Economic Forum.
Grayling: I’m the first impartial Lord Chancellor in 400 years – He’s obviously not, and Ian Dunt explains why.

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