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

  • Legalising the case for repairing things. The US Right to Repair movement is promoting legislation that gives people the right to repair the things they own. New York State may be the first to pass it–and other states could follow. AKA: Up yours, Apple.

  • The majority of the working class in the West live in places that do not count anymore. The French geographer Christophe Guilluy on the gap between the periphery and the urban metropolis. The metropolises are where the money is–and are chasing away the working class.

  • Jared Diamond’s latest book, Upheaval, is a study in comparative autobiography. He looks at a whole lot of places he’s lived to assess sources of social resilience. The review on the Five Books’ site found it a bit mixed. Jared Diamond talked about the book on the Irish Times Inside Politics podcast.

  • Most platforms fail–and network effects aren’t inevitable. A new book connects the economics of platforms to business strategy. Innovation-led platforms need different strategies from market-making platforms. Reviewed by Diane Coyle.

  • The TV streaming business is about to fragment. Anyone who owns content wants to use it to compete with Netflix. Viewers will lose out–or spend a lot more money on TV. But content creators who can command audiences should be able to rake in the money.

  • The drinking fountain is making a comeback, at least in Britain. They were often installed by 19th century Christian philanthropists, but many had fallen into disuse. This engaging history also reminds me that we wrote a scenario 15 years ago that included the return of drinking fountains and of people carrying their own cup with them.

  • Graduate design shows are often a sign of things to come. The design website Core 77 visited Pasadena for the ArtCenter grad show. They found safe loos for women in refugee camps, designs for future food, and jewellery that connects us to future generations.

Housenotes: I confused Charlottesville (with an S) and Charleston in last week’s edition. Obama’s eulogy was in Charleston. Thanks to J Walker Smith for pointing it out.

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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)