Archive for March, 2013

Links I liked (edition #3)

March 24, 2013

Hello again.

This edition of “Links I liked” includes a talk from 2008 by Zadie Smith, a cool demo of GOV.UK at the Design Museum, and an electric car that seems perfect for the everyday commuter (at last!). If you’ve got any suggestions for things I should link to in future blog posts then please email me with “Links I liked” in the subject line. Thanks!

Here’s an outstanding talk given by Zadie Smith in December 2008 (53 minutes duration, 25MB mp3 download). It’s a sophisticated, nuanced discussion of race, identity, authenticity and language at the dawn of the age of Obama, with examples from William Shakespeare, Barack Obama, Eliza Doolittle and her little brother. Download and enjoy at your leisure.

From the world of Canadian economics blogging (yes, really) comes this brief summary of the macro-economic impact on Middle Earth of Smaug the dragon. “Unfortunately, the lack of a central bank, or indeed any but the most rudimentary monetary institutions, was a major obstacle to currency reform.”

How big is the Internet? An anonymous security researcher built a botnet on the back of a few million insecure systems and scanned the whole of the Internet several times over. While the insights are fascinating, the ease with which he/she built the botnet suggests that device manufacturers need to work harder on securing their devices, to put it mildly.

GOV.UK was nominated for the 2013 Designs of the Year Awards at the Design Museum (go and visit – the exhibition closes on 7 July 02013). The GOV.UK exhibit is a combination of mobile, tablet and “desktop” browsers running literally side-by-side – you can browse the site on a laptop and the same pages appear on the other two devices at the same time. Elegant and understated – it’s a very GOV.UK demo. And talking of cool demos, if you ever played SimCity you might want to keep an eye on VizCities.

Having spent almost four years doing grunt work on numerous VC and private equity deals, I was overjoyed to read this pithy summary of contract law from Charles Stross buried in a speculative blog post on things publishers can’t do (yet): ‘Contract law is essentially a defensive scorched-earth battleground where the constant question is, “if my business partner was possessed by a brain-eating monster from beyond spacetime tomorrow, what is the worst thing they could do to me?”‘

And finally, this review of the Renault Zoe electric car almost makes me wish I had to drive to work every day. (Almost.)