A usually weekly collection of the provocative, intriguing, and curious, in a world where the house is falling down. A mix of the contextual, the cultural, or other things that catch my eye.

* How to build a 10,000 year organisation? Actually, we don’t know, because the oldest organisations are only 1,000 years old. The Long Now Foundation’s Executive Director extrapolates from first principles.

* Tourism is killing the places it loves. As the Scottish writer Kathleen Jamie discovered on Everest. And cruise ships are polluting their favoured destinations more than cars do.

* The chances are, there will be a recession in 2020. Nouriel Roubini, who called the 2008 crash, says that nine of the ten risks he identified last year are still risks. And the trade war between China and America could be the trigger.

* China won’t be democratised any time soon. If anything, it is going the other way–moving from ‘networked authoritarianism’ to ‘networked totalitarianism’. It’s worth clicking through the link to read Tyler Cowen’s article as well.

* There’s a backlash against facial recognition technology. It reinforces the bias about race and gender, and it destroys the balance of power between individuals and the state.

* The best way to tell a story about the future is to set it in the past. Ian McEwan’s latest novel is set in a ’80s Britain where the computer pioneer Alan Turing hasn’t committed suicide and robots and AI are commonplace. Registration may be required.

That moment in his Charleston eulogy where Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ was improvised. He thought he had lost the audience–as he explained to the DJ Questlove. Something I learnt from the storytelling podcast Anecdotally Speaking. (23 minutes) For reference, Obama’s eulogy is here(38 mins).

Image of the Clock of the Long Now by Scott Beale, of The Long Now Foundation. Some rights reserved.

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“The whole world’s at sixes and sevens, and why the house hasn’t fallen down about our ears long ago is a miracle to me.” (Thornton Wilder)

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