• Freedom of Expression,  Journalism,  Social Media,  Technology

    Virtue-Signalling Utilities

    Allow me to be the first to coin the term “Patreonizing“. It is defined as the increasingly desperate – but on the surface, smug – attempts by a large tech company to reassure its users that its silly and arbitrary decisions were virtuous and “the right thing to do” when almost everyone can see they made a terrible mistake. And of course the word derives from the stab crowdsourcing giant Patreon had at justifying its removal of political vlogger Sargon of Akkad from its platform.  The vlogger had, they say, violated their terms of use by using the dreaded “n-word” when interviewed on a podcast not on his channel and…

  • Cities,  Cycling,  Environment,  History,  Science,  Technology

    Roads Were Not Built For Cars

    Carlton Reid’s Roads Were Not Built for Cars is a revisionist history, reclaiming the role of bicycles in the development of roads and the cars that dominate them. When a class, a race, a gender reclaims its history it is usually in the cause of self-assertion. After reading this I was indignant when a privileged usurper tooted me for walking across the entrance of a cul-de-sac which they were turning into. Listen, these are my f***** streets too, you know. The later Victorian age. The railway lines had cut through the country on their purpose-built tracks and profoundly changed ideas of mobility. The roads, once well maintained for mail coaches,…

  • Technology

    The 2.0 Goldrush

    This is a guest post by The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, a new initiative from Demos. Just in case you haven’t heard: data is now ‘big’. 90% of the data in the world today didn’t exist a few years ago. This revolutionary arrival of data – not only in vast quantities, but often real-time – has rarely been off the lips of the commentators and opinion-formers of the tech world. Big data is also valuable. It’s now classed as a commodity, like oil and gold. It’s become so valuable not only because we’re producing more than ever before, but also because we can understand it better than ever. As…