Worth Reading 161: A stoic in purple

Doorsteps, Dogs and Doughnuts – A Dozen Worst and Best Election Moments – I think many of us will have sone election memories similar to the ones Alex Wilcock recounts here.
Could a ‘citizen’s income’ work? – A long and detailed report looking into the issue from the Joseph Rowntree foundation.
Global warming and the death of a magical sports tradition – How a change in the climate has made an epic Dutch ice skating challenge very unlikely to ever happen again.
Wherefore art thou, Honest Abe? – It’ll take more than a few words from a Great Man of history to keep the United Kingdom together, according to Lallands Peat Worrier.
Why UK politicians could learn a lot from the Pirate party – I personally think the Pirate bubble has burst (not that it ever inflated much in Britain) but the wider points Paul Mason makes here about the people having vision while the politicians are obsessed with minutiae are good.

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Worth Reading 160: Text message

The ‘cost’ bias – Chris Dillow explains how a lot of our understanding of how much something might cost the economy is completely wrong.
The robots are coming – John Lanchester in the LRB on how automation is changing everything around us.
Die Another Eh: What Does It Mean Now That James Bond Is In The Public Domain In Canada? – It’s almost as though copyright law has been set up to be as confusing and stifling of creativity as possible.
American democracy is doomed – Slightly incendiary title for a piece that’s arguing the current structure of American democracy needs to change, but sums up a lot of the problems with how American democracy (doesn’t) work. The problem isn’t having a constitution, it’s having that constitution seen as a near-sacred text that can’t be jettisoned and replaced.
A mayor for all seasons? – Professor Colin Talbot argues that devolution to Greater Manchester and the imposition of an elected Mayor is following the model of previous British government blunders.

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Worth Reading 159: You can’t checkout from here

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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Worth Reading 158: The memory of Regional Railways

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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Worth Reading 157: Carthago Delenda Est

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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Worth Reading 156: Gongs per day

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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Worth reading 155: If you start with a free ball

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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