Posts

2021v5, Wednesday: Stories.

On learning advocacy from story-telling, across genres and styles. With a plug for Carly Simon, John le Carré, and a recent opponent of mine. Short thought: I can bore for Britain on the subject of story-telling. Indeed, I already have, several times. But this is because it’s important. For us all as human beings, for […]

2021v3, Monday: Miscellany.

It’s a bank holiday. I have to work. So I’m afraid a linkfest will have to do. With a quick shout about sleaze at the end. Incidentally: do subscribe at http://remoteaccessbar.substack.com if you fancy getting this automatically. Now, advert over. Let’s get on. Someones are right on the internet: It’s the early May bank holiday, […]

2021v1, Saturday: What’s measured matters.

When measures become targets, they’re useless as measures. But when something isn’t measured at all, it’s invisible… Short thought: a rare day off yesterday with spouse. So nothing written. Catching up today, I spotted one of the terrifying number of tabs I currently have open and awaiting attention, which dealt with Goodhart’s law. And that […]

2021iv28, Wednesday: “A bloody computer system killed my brother.”

More on the Horizon scandal. And yes, it’s a scandal. Someone is right on the internet: A very short hit. Because Dan Hon, an excellent writer on tech, has hit the nail on the head with an important backstory to the Post Office Horizon scandal in which dozens of honest sub-postmasters were prosecuted and convicted […]

2021iv26, Monday: An affront to justice.

Firstly – sorry for being off-schedule. Exhaustion, I’m afraid. Back to work, with a few words about the wholly shameful tale of the Horizon prosecutions. Preface: I apologise. Last week was insane, to the point where I fell asleep before 9 on Friday night and (unusually for me) slept for more than 8 hours without […]

2021iv19, Monday: Privacy and the Supremes.

One of the most consequential cases on the law and privacy makes it to the Supreme Court next week. I’ll be watching. And some great stuff on gaming and moral panics. Short thought: There’s no doubt that arguments about privacy are going to grow, and multiply, for years to come. On so many fronts, the […]

2021iv16, Friday: The king of the Ponzi?

Madoff’s dead, but fraud lives on. A short history of the Real Book. And the importance of prioritising economics over culture wars. Short thought: Very briefly, because of a hearing earlier today, it’s worth marking the passing of Bernard Madoff, by far the biggest Ponzi schemer ever unearthed. I say “unearthed” because although all Ponzi […]

2021iv14, Wednesday: Equality, of a sort.

Equality in principle is very different from equality in practice. As we’re seeing in the Greensill affair – and as a French writer cynically and beautifully put it many years ago. And US officialdom catches up, at last, on surface transmission of the Bug. Short thought: Back when I was a reporter covering business, I […]

2021iv12, Monday: Covid theatre.

We knew everything we needed to know to make people far safer from Covid a year ago. If there’s ever an inquiry, the question will be: why didn’t we take heed? Why did we rely on hygiene theatre for so long? Short thought: Ever since 9/11 catalysed an upsurge in security – and don’t get […]

2021iv9, Friday: (Not) getting things done.

Has productivity fallen because we’re all doing things we’re just not that good at? And how tech perverts language. Short thought: Once upon a time, the BBC had a specialist expenses unit in Cardiff. Unsurprisingly, journalists run up some fairly bizarre expenses from time to time, and the unit could handle all of them. Legend […]

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