“In the modern example, McDonalds moves in, boasting jobs and hamburgers sold at lower cost and at two in the morning. But then the restaurant with a personal investment in the town goes under. Most of McDonald’s revenue gets sent elsewhere, the town becomes poorer and unhealthier, and in the end they’re living worse than they were to begin with. McDonald’s isn’t really any cheaper if its very presence impoverishes a community, but the illusion persists just long enough to get its foot in the door. By the time the town sees through the hustle, it’s already too late.” —Notes from The Road II | America reCycled
“We need to ask, what makes a city great? If your idea of a great city is restful, orderly, clean, then that’s fine. You can go live in a gated community. These kinds of cities are what is called ‘productive resorts’. Descartes, writing about 17th-century Amsterdam, said that a great city should be ‘an inventory of the possible’. I like that description.” —FT.com / House & Home - Liveable v lovable
“And what’s the magic with them? My mother explained the magic with this machine the very, very first day. She said, “Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry; the machine will make the work. And now we can go to the library.” Because this is the magic: you load the laundry, and what do you get out of the machine? You get books out of the machines, children’s books. And mother got time to read for me. She loved this. I got the “ABC.” This is where I started my career as a professor, when my mother had time to read for me. And she also got books for herself. She managed to study English and learn that as a foreign language. And she read so many novels, so many different novels here. And we really, we really loved this machine. And what we said, my mother and me, “Thank you industrialization. Thank you steel mill. Thank you power station. And thank you chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books.” —Transcript for Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine | dotSUB
“In a globalised world the choices are stark for the American petit-bourgeois intelligentsia: be absorbed into the Mordor of the Chinese proletariat, or somehow retain a niche in the emergent Chiworld by becoming its city-building, iPad-designing, FedExing technocracy.” —LRB · Will Self · The Frowniest Spot on Earth
“So there I am, going through the stuff, and I found a small cache of Playstation material. And in that Playstation material, among the Wipeout promotions and “U R NOT E” sloganeering, was this perforated paper, light cardboard really, with the Playstation logo. It kind of confused me; who’d want some cardboard logo which was hundreds of tiny squares combined in a grid to form a Playstation Logo? Then it hit me. BLOTTER PAPER. SONY MARKETING HAD CREATED ACID BLOTTER PAPER TO BE HANDED OUT AT CLUBS. I didn’t keep it; I just put it back in the pile. I think in one moment I saw the level of desperation Sony would achieve in marketing the Playstation, the no-holds-barred level they’d go to get the Playstation logo out there. I have no idea how the whole thing would work, how you’d hand this blotter paper to the right people, how you’d leave it somewhere for folks to find, how you could possibly, ever, think this was a good idea. But someone did, and I saw in all this some of the face of how insane things had gotten.” —ASCII by Jason Scott / Blotstation
“In Britain, the main police powers used to shut down unofficial parties derive from section 63 of the Criminal justice and Public Order Act 1994. This notorious legislation, passed by the Conservative government in the face of mass protests, put the word ‘rave’ into law – defining it as ‘a gathering on land in the open air of 100 or more persons’ and with music ‘predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats’. When Labour come to power they passed the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 which amended the definition so that now only 20 people have to be present for a party to be defined as an illegal rave.” —
20 people! That’s shameful. A sad reminder of Labour’s civil liberties record.