Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

18th Feb 2017

I attended The Story conference at Conway Hall yesterday – always one of the most enlightening and inspiring events of the year. Highlights included a talk from journalist David Conn concerning his work on Hillsborough; writer Lara Pawson reading from her latest book; and the author and teacher Kate Clanchy on inspiring a love of poetry in children. Two speakers presented short videos that are really worth a watch. In 160 Characters Victoria Mapplebeck finds an old Nokia phone in a drawer. Re-charging it, reveals texts telling the ‘sweet-bitter’ story of a relationship, from 10 years ago. Swipe Slow, is a BBC short by Inua Ellams and featuring Harley Sylvester (from Rizzle Kicks), that has a refreshing take on love in the age of Tinder.

…and while we are talking about Tinder, here are the most desirable job titles in online dating. Number one for women is ‘Physical Therapist’ and for men it is ‘Pilot’.

A battle for the future of the web is taking place. Should the www be locked down with digital rights management (DRM)? ‘The stakes could not be higher… on the one hand, Hollywood is terrified of online piracy, and studios insist that video streaming providers like Netflix use DRM to stop users from pirating movies. On the other hand, a long list of security experts argue that DRM breaks the Web’s open architecture, and damages browser security, with cascading negative effects across the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg waded into the debate on globalisation with a verbose missive (5,800 words) on Thursday. He expressed alarm that what was once considered normal — seeking global connection — was now seen by people and governments around the world, as something undesirable.One may not always agree with Facebook’s direction or like the power it wields; but on this Zuck is definitely on the right side of the argument.

An interesting perspective on the relationship between rudeness and truth – are we living in an age of rudeness? From @NYT – ‘The truth often appears in the guise of a threat to the social code. It has this in common with rudeness. When people tell the truth, they can experience a feeling of release from pretence that is perhaps similar to the release of rudeness. It might follow that people can mistake truth for rudeness, and rudeness for truth. It may only be by examining the aftermath of each that it becomes possible to prove which was which.’

In a period of growing social media influence (and influencers), the business divorce between Disney and PewDiePie is a salutary tale. From Digiday – the inherent difficulties in policing You Tube.

From How We Get To Next. ‘For Muslims currently living in the U.S., the idea of undertaking a pilgrimage to Mecca has become a freshly perilous one. They could well be forbidden from reentering Trump’s newly fortified America. It’s possible that’s not the only hindrance, though. Some might be unable to embark on a pilgrimage because they lack the physical capability to climb a mountain, the financial capacity to travel, or simply the time to spare.’ This is how technology is democratising pilgrimage.

The ’23’ Enigma. From The Guardian – ‘In Tangier in 1960, the beat writer William S. Burroughs met a sea captain called Captain Clark, who boasted to him that he had never had an accident in 23 years; later that day Clark’s boat sank, killing him and everyone on board. Burroughs was reflecting on this, that same evening, when he heard a radio report about a plane crash in Florida: the pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23. From then on Burroughs began noting down incidences of the number 23, and wrote a short story, 23 Skidoo.’

John Franklin was one of many European explorers who tried and failed to find a path from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic. Very few returned home from that voyage, whose potential rewards were huge — a vessel traveling from Hamburg to Shanghai through the Northwest Passage would cut 2,300 miles off its journey, compared to traveling via the Suez Canal, and approximately 5,200 miles if it were to sail through the Panama Canal. These days this journey poses less of a problem, as this gif depicting the decline of Arctic sea ice, clearly shows.

The bizarre, high flying world of dronevertising.