Friday Reading S02E17

Each week I round-up a load of things I read on the internet about the media, politics and technology, which I thought you might enjoy reading too…

“If you are a small or medium sized publisher don’t have a news app. If you already have one, shut it down. Use your resources to make your mobile web site better.”

Lessons From Five Years in Mobile News Apps: #1 Don’t have a news app.”–Priya Ganapati

“Five minutes and 10 controller re-connections later, I had called that malfunctioning hunk of robot shit a motherf***er in front of my children.”

Absolutely glorious rant about the state of gaming hardware from Albert Burneko who can now probably add fanboys whining at him until the end of time to his list of faults with console gaming: The Xbox One Is Garbage And The Future Is Bullshit

“There’s nothing to gain by limiting your audience. Nothing. When you look at anything — be it movies, books, horror, wrestling, comics, or (and yes, this is a big one) videogames — the longer that it’s purely aimed at young (and, in my case, not so young) men, the longer it becomes a defensive monoculture.”

When things you love stop being yours…”–Chris Brosnahan on how comics and wrestling are no longer aimed at him and he is fine with it

No link. I’m just going to leave a picture here of my user experience of trying to read an article about how, after the new rise of ad-blocking, advertisers are going to start getting it right.

The Telegraph are recruiting for a Head of Data Journalism.

Excellent lengthy piece about the culture war in football that struck me with so many parallels about digital transformation in media. The TL;DR is that in football–like many sports–you used to have to be a player to have the insight to go on to be a great coach or great manager. But if you follow the Moneyball model and take an analytical approach to the game, suddenly anyone who can use a laptop and understand the systems can get results. Hey ho, it’s my good old-fashioned friends “we’ve always done it this way” and gate-keeping.

Football’s new Holy War”–Rory Smith

“School shootings mostly involve young white men. And, not surprisingly, given the ready availability of firearms in the United States, the phenomenon is overwhelmingly American. But, beyond those facts, the great puzzle is how little school shooters fit any kind of pattern.
But what if the way to explain the school-shooting epidemic is to go back and use the Granovetterian model — to think of it as a slow-motion, ever-evolving riot, in which each new participant’s action makes sense in reaction to and in combination with those who came before?”

Don’t read this just before you go to bed. “Thresholds of violence” by Malcolm Gladwell will scare you if you think about the consequences of it being true.

This story, also about U.S. schools is…well…odd. ‘They all ended up dead’: anger lingers over students who died after hypnosis.”

I tried to commute on a hoverboard and it was damn near impossible” — Robyn Vinter complains that this is not the future we were promised.

Also inaccurate about the future was that no sci-fi book I ever read when I was a kid had anybody moaning about the battery life of their gadgets. “Smartphone Battery Myths, Explained” by Thorin Klosowski for Lifehacker pretty much suggest that everything you think you know about prolonging battery life is wrong, and basically, the only way to go is to switch the damn screen off.

“It’s a god-awful small affair”

“SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a ‘swarm of megastructures,’ perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.”

The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy” — Ross Anderson in The Atlantic on the discovery of some very odd light patterns discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. This is more like the future we were promised.

Although well and probably sensibly debunked here.

Musical interlude

The new Sparks video is great — more pop videos should feature open-brain surgery IMHO

Tuff Love are lovely so listen to them.

This is an astonishing interview in the New Statesman with Sananda Maitreya, who you probably know better as Terence Trent D’Arby. In it he seems to claim that he is possessed by the ghost of John Lennon, and that part of the reason his career nose-dived is because Michael Jackson was conspiring against him. Not sure the phrase “troubled” has ever applied so much to a pop star.

Meet Kraftwerk’s original 3D animator, Rebecca Allen. All that glorious video stuff from “Techno Pop” and “Music Non-Stop” in the 80s took about two years to make apparently.

I love things like this Damian Thompson post on “This week the Catholic Church is in chaos. And Pope Francis is to blame” because there’s something so elegant about having an organisation where the boss is basically meant to be God’s representative on earth but then all the people around him are really pissed off about the way he has organised an office away-day.

Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from journalist and designer Martin Belam, covering media, technology and politics. And frequently Doctor Who and 80’s music too. You can find the back issues here.