Link dumps 2020-03-21

We're still in lockdown, so there's not much happening. Still, it gives me time to read...


Vincent Alexander's thread on classical music in classic cartoons; Art, Music, Fun; A fun twitter thread on the classical music that you know, but you don't know you know - because it was in cartoons! Lots of small videos make for a fun thing to dip into and out of to put a smile on your face.

Revealed: More money went on failed Garden Bridge than TfL has spent maintaining Thames’ crossings in last decade; Politics, Scandal; The title kind of says it all. Boris Johnson wasted more money trying to get a legacy for his name than he spent on maintaining critical infrastructure for the city. Why anyone thinks he's competent is beyond me...

How Land Registry Data Reveals London’s Secret Tunnels; History, Society, Engineering; How can you find a secret tunnel? Well, you can start by finding out who says that they own the land. I wonder if we can use this to discover shell companies that the intelligence services use?

From buggies to buses, the first Black-owned US automaker did what few others dared; History, Society; A nice summary of a car manufacturer owned and run by an African-American family at a time when that seems unthinkable. They didn't survive, but just the idea that they tried at that time is inspiring.

Stad Ships Tunnel; Engineering, Transport; Ah, Norway. A huge engineering project so that ships can take a shortcut - it makes so much sense, yet has that tinge of visionary lunacy that we associate with the Victorian era in Britain. Never change, Norway. We love you for stuff like this.

If Rush Hour Dies, Does Mass Transit Die With It?; Society, Politics, Transport; An interesting idea. Personally I doubt rush hour will die, but it may get a bit less busy. We're looking at a change, and we have to make that age-old call - is transit a social good we're willing to fund, or a luxury that we're not willing to fund. I think most people who know me can guess which side I fall on.

The paradox of financial innovation; Economics; I find some of the ideas in this fascinating. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I do find myself realising that the markets are set up more for the benefit of those that are already wealthy than for the benefit of society. Securities linked to occupations seem particularly interesting as an idea... (Be warned: he uses Marx in the academic sense not the tabloid sense. Serious readers only, please!)

National Security Risks of Late-Stage Capitalism; Security, Computing, Economics; An interesting column from Bruce Schneier about how a lack of economic incentive is leaving our country - and companies - vulnerable to security risks.

SMBC Comics: Funny; Fun, Society; "Kids start off functional and we adjust them until they're broken! Kids ask why countries don't get along and we just shake our heads instead of saying the truth which is that we are crazy and one day you will be crazy too." - Truth.

Baroness Barker in the House of Lords on trans rights; Society, Human Rights; Baroness Barker makes a powerful speech. The highlight: "We are in familiar territory because powerful campaigns have common characteristics and patterns. A classic campaign identifies a minority group—preferably one about which the majority population knows little—ascribes to it characteristics and motivations which make it a threat and repeats those assertions, preferably with the backing of a neutral body or experts, over and over until they become received wisdom. It is what happened to migrant communities in the UK in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, it was lesbians and gay men. Today, it is the turn of trans people."


I spared you some Brexit links this month, because there was already quite a bit of politics mixed in here. But rest assured that there will probably be something next month, because it's not going away.