Monday, 2 April 2018

What I've Been Reading, March 2018


This note used to say that the links appear in the order I read them and was meant imply that they were more or less random in their subject matter, other than being of interest to me. Recently I started a few new sections at the bottom of the links on subjects that are of particular interest to me. But I can see that as time passes I am moving to a greater degree of "curation", which the dictionary tell me is about organizing and maintaining a collection. Applied to this collection of links and books I guess this will mean selecting links less randomly and trying to make them relevant in the context of this blog and whatever is going on in the world during the month.

Poverty, Housing, Homelessness

Last month I listed a link to an article that maintained poverty is the main cause of homelessness, so I've expended the scope of this section, and rolled minimum wage issues in with it.

  • Exposing the great 'poverty reduction' lie, by Jason Hickel, Aljazeera
    "The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, but some measures show it is worse."
  • Survivors, by Brigid Hains, Aeon.
    "Filthy and violent it may be, but life is still precious for the world's street children. Can you look them in the eye?"
  • $15 minimum wage or a tax cut: what are the trade-offs? by Sheila Block, Behind the Numbers.
  • Thousands of Working New Yorkers Are Living in Homeless Shelters, by Jacquelyn Simone, Coalition for the Homeless
    "Rents surged nearly 20% in real dollars from 2000 to 2014, while household income decreased by 6.3%. The number of people living in New York City shelters skyrocketed to more than 60,000 late last year, up from 31,009 in 2002. The rise in the working homeless is a big reason why."
  • L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this? by Steve Lopez, LA Times
    "Beginning at Central Avenue and heading west, I counted 16 tents on the south side of 5th Street. My longtime traveling companion, Times photographer Francine Orr, counted 15 tents on the north side of the street.
    "One block, 31 tents.
    "On skid row, this is the norm, and it has been for years. On a recent day, it was not possible to walk on the sidewalk in the one-block stretch of 6th Street between San Julian and Wall streets. Rows of tents and blue tarp shanties lined the entire stretch, extending all the way to the curb, so you had to walk in the street."

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico after the hurricane is a present day example of what we can expect to see someday soon in many areas experiencing collapse, though the future will no doubt see even less recovery funding from the mainland.

One would hope the recovery would aim for resilience and sustainability, but that doesn't seem to be the way it is going. And beyond that, I don't hear anyone talking about preparing for the next storm. The reality of climate change is that there will surely be another storm and probably in the near future. it would be a shame if all the recovery work that is being done was wiped out during the next hurricane season.

Intelligence and IQ Testing

Autonomous Vehicles



  • Ecko Rising, by Daniel Ware
    First in a three part series, but I don't think I'll read the other two.
  • The Corporation Wars: Emergence, by Ken Macleod
    Third and final book in an excellent trilogy.
  • Dark State, by Charles Stross
    Second in a trilogy which is a continuation of a series of six books. But he keeps me coming back for more. A real cliff hanger at the end of this one and the next book isn't coming out until January 2019.


And to round out this month, here are some gems from my bookshelf:

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