Worth Reading 137: By the rivers of Babylon

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit – “Why did the projected explosion of technological growth everyone was expecting—the moon bases, the robot factories—fail to happen? There are two possibilities. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic (in which case, we need to know why so many intelligent people believed they were not) or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).”
Future Tense: British science fiction television – A great series of articles from Frank Collins (formerly of the Cathode Ray Tube blog) on the history of SF TV in Britain.
Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital In The Twenty-First Century’ Explained – A good and concise explanation of the theories Piketty proposes.
The Liberal Democrat approach to campaigning: the history and debunking some myths – A fascinating piece of history from Mark Pack.
Nothing Goes Wrong On Palmerston Island – Life in one of the world’s most isolated settlements.

Worth Reading 118: I don’t know your number

Taken a while to put this list together, as you might be able to tell from the differing ages of the links…

Axelrod & matches – Chris Dillow uses Labour’s appointment of David Axelrod to point out that most successful management is strongly context-specific and not necessarily transferable.
Metropolitan bureaucrats ate our counties – Flip Chart Fairy Tales on just how bizarre the DCLG’s latest pronouncements on ‘historic borders’ are. The campaign for the restoration of Winchecombeshire starts…somewhere else.
The Manic Street Preachers: “I’ll always hate the Tory party. But now I hate Labour, too” – Interview with the band as their latest album is released.
The board game of the alpha nerds – An introduction to Diplomacy, which is the best, most frustrating, most challenging and most annoying game I’ve played. (If you want to try it, PlayDiplomacy.com is a good site)
What’s the point if we can’t have fun? – “Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real question is: Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is?”

Worth Reading 113: Begin the Hallel

What the Royal Parks is doing to a charity softball league should matter to us all – David Allen Green on public space.
Can you solve Slate‘s gerrymandering jigsaw puzzle? – The bizarre world of US political boundaries, and what happens when they’re set by politicians.
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs – “Why did Keynes’ promised utopia – still being eagerly awaited in the ‘60s – never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn’t figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we’ve collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment’s reflection shows it can’t really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the ‘20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.”
Branded to death – How marketing-speak is damaging higher education.
Myths Over Miami – Fascinating account of the stories homeless children in Miami tell of a war between God, the Devil and the Blue Lady.