☞ Two Lessons For Survival

  • Important essay by Clay Shirky explains why complex systems must collapse, rather than adapt or simplify. He writes about Television but the lessons seem to me to be generally applicable.

    But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

    Unless they convince people outside the system to prop them up somehow, that is. In that case those people become part of the complexity, part of the system, and when the collapse comes collapse with it.

    This is our collective fate if we allow our legislators to prop up the complex but obsolete business models of the past. It’s why the Digital Economy Bill – and its inspiration, ACTA – are so toxic to society, way beyond the scope they appear to hold.

  • It’s Easter, and there’s a lot of sugar around over here in the UK – probably where you are too. I watched this video a few months ago and it transformed the way I thought about sugar.

    The lecture includes descriptions of the metabolic cycles by which the liver handles glucose and fructose and clearly explains why fructose is not the same as glucose for your body. Fructose needs handling in a way that could lead your body into high blood pressure, obesity and gout, and it prevents your stomach signalling to your brain that you should stop eating. Fructose separated from the fibre that delivered it is just plain toxic.

    I heartily recommend watching the full 90 minutes of this one before you eat your Easter eggs, it’s changed the way I think about food and eating.

Short links:

  • The new Ordnance Survey open data site is an amazing 180º turn from their attitude just a few months ago. Let’s hope it triggers deep and delicious awesomeness in British society.
  • Alex Brown discovers that the faith he has been consistently and publicly placing in the goodwill of Microsoft around their OOXML specification has been betrayed. Most of us are not even slightly surprised, I’m afraid.
  • This seemed too good to be true for April 1st, but it seems to be the first fruits of the move towards open data being forced on the crusty Ordnance Survey. It will trigger a fresh wave of innovation for geo-data applications in the UK, which is very welcome indeed. If only it had happened earlier. I still need to take a close look at the licensing, though.
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