Filed under American history

Secrets of Silicon Valley – part 2

In the second and final episode, of this fine investigative programme, ‘The Persuasion Machine’, Jamie Bartlett took us from the big players in Silicon Valley to what they actually do, and in some way sit was more frightening than the big bucks involved. This is an aspect of the internet few of us pay much … Continue reading

America Defying Trump

America Defying Trump

In the gloom that has descended since last Saturday, here’s a ray of hope for us all.  This is an article from last Sunday’s Observer, written by Mark Ruffalo and Rahwa Ghirmatzion Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris climate agreement and turn his back on the other 194 nations … Continue reading

Secrets of Silicon Valley BBC2

Secrets of Silicon Valley BBC2

This is the first of 2 documentaries by blogger Jamie Bartlett whose intelligent, low key investigation of the big tech companies are seen to be very different to what they claim. He visits Silicon Valley, the main source of so many inventions that claim will improve our lives, but he finds they are based on … Continue reading

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City BBC4

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City BBC4

This documentary featured the pioneering journalism and activism of Jane Jacobs who led the battle to stop the wholesale replacement of cities and their vibrant communities with freeways and tower blocksin New York City. Her main opponent was Robert Moses who became a local hero for promoting open spaces and building public parks, but after … Continue reading

Nourishment for our Brains

Nourishment for our Brains

This is from the i paper, an obituary for Marian Diamond Neuroscientist 11/11/1926 – 25/7/2017. Her work has huge implications for how our society is changing: Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein’s brain and was the first to show that the brain’s anatomy can change with experience, has died aged 90. … Her … Continue reading

Origin of Vampires

Origin of Vampires

Here’s a story that justifies reading outside a person’s normal area of interest. Tschiffley’s Ride is one of the great travel adventures, the sort of journey only Werner Herzog would contemplate filming. Please. Aime Tsciffley, a Swiss former teacher, footballer and boxer moved to Buenos Aires in 1920. In 1925 he set of in the … Continue reading

The Last Days of Solitary

The Last Days of Solitary

This is a really disturbing documentary by the BBC on the US prison system, in which solitary confinement has become widespread as a last resort for dealing with violent uncontrollable prisoners. But for centuries they’ve known it doesn’t work, and in many cases makes prisoners worse. It also costs a hell of a lot of … Continue reading

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading