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.

Two views, one day

After waking, he checked his portable communication device, which instantly gave him the latest score in the Ashes Test from Sydney, confirming that England were on course to win the match, and with it, the series.

He went downstairs and picked up his portable reading device, selecting a book from the list of hundreds it contained within it. Wanting music to accompany his reading, he used his personal communication device to access a service that allowed him to select from millions on songs. Each one he selected was then transferred down telephone wires to his home and then beamed wirelessly to the communication device, which transmitted the signal along narrow wires to tiny speakers that he inserted directly into his ear.

Or in modern terminology, not that of a fifties sci-fi novel: this morning, I got up, checked the cricket score on the ECB app on my phone, then went downstairs to read on my Kindle for a while while using my phone to listen to Spotify.

Welcome to the future, where the most outlandish thing is still England winning the Ashes Down Under.