Read: This Is Your Mind On Plants by Michael Pollan 📚 ★★★☆☆
Three chapters, opium, caffeine, and mescaline. The opium one was recycled from some time ago, it would have been interesting to read more about the opiate crisis in modern times in the USA and the drug companies.
The coffee chapter was quite fascinating, given it is the one of the three I use. The social/political aspects were an interesting introduction to the area.
The mescaline chapter dug into some Native American/American Indian information and ideas. Including that some prefer the name Indian to Native American. I found this and the surrounding politics of mescaline more interesting that the effects of the drug.
Read: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell ★★★★★ 📚 I enjoyed everything about this, the detail of life at the time and the natural world and the sadness. The idea of Shakespeare as almost a secondary character is solid.
Sarah Frier documents how Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom wanted Instagram to be an outlet for artists (in a high-school essay, Systrom wrote that he liked how photography could “inspire others to look at the world in a new way”).
Click on Instagram today and you will still see plenty of photos, but you’ll also be confronted with a carousel of short, vertical videos (known as “Reels”) as well as the more-than-occasional ad. In his video, Mosseri explained that “the number one reason people say that they use Instagram in research is to be entertained” and the app was going to “lean into that trend” by experimenting with video. Citing TikTok and YouTube as competition, Mosseri said Instagram would “embrace video” and users could expect a number of changes in the coming months.
I use Instagram, I don’t see much of the work of “creatives” ’cause I don’t follow any. I do see an increasing number of adverts and have hated the changes like algorithmic photo order, lack of linking and locked down API.
Almost everyone I follow on Instagram I have met. It is the only place I follow relatives. I’d love to be able to follow then in micro.blog or some other nicer place. Interoperability please.
What the Royal Mail IT scandal can teach us about the nature of truth inside organisations, and why things often look perfectly fine until right before they fall apart.
Focusing on IT projects. It does seem that any hierarchical organisation could have similar problems. Although we do not have dashboards and status reports in education could the way new initiatives arrive and are managed have similar problems?
In a 2008 blogpost, legendary IT consultant Bruce F. Webster applied the idea of the thermocline to large-scale IT projects. Why was it, Webster asked, that so many projects seemed to be on-track until just before their launch date, at which point it became suddenly clear that they were miles behind schedule?
Those at the top, though, have no such first-hand knowledge. They rely on the bubbling-up of information from below, in the form of dashboards and status reports. But, Webster noticed, those status reports tend to produce a comically optimistic view of the state of the project. Individual contributors presented a rosy picture of what they were working on to their line managers; middle managers gave good news to their bosses; and senior managers, keen to stay on the promotion track and perhaps hopeful that other parts of the project would fail before theirs, massage the truth yet again.
Does your organisation value truth above all, even from those at the bottom of the org chart? Do you create an environment in which people feel safe challenging their superiors? Do you publicly praise those who give bad news, rather than admonishing them for demoralising the team? Do you use objective metrics to measure progress
All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire by Jonathan Abrams ★★★★☆ 📚
Quotes from the actors, writers, producers, directors & others involved. Going through the series in order. I’ve watched all 5 series several times through and this makes me want to watch it again.
Read: The Gospel of the Eels by Patrik Svensson ★★★★☆ 📚
Great read, a mix of the history of the study & natural history of eels with the author’s eel fishing with his father. The list of folk who studied eels runs from Aristotle through Freud to Racel Carson. Includes a bit of recent Swedish social history, the mystery & plight of the species. loved this.