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Weekend read: One picture that changed the world

Written last Christmas to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the image, Jeffrey Kluger’s TIME article tells the story of one of humanity’s most celebrated images: the Earthrise shot from Apollo 8. As Kluger says,

It’s the picture that was credited with starting the environmental movement, that has been on postage stamps and t-shirts, album covers and coffee mugs, that has been used as a hopeful symbol of global unity at peace rallies and health conferences, on Christmas cards and in works of art.

His story is a great read.

And, in fact, this week’s recommendation is my hundredth in this series. My first recommendation, published in July 2012, also had a space theme. You can browse all of my selections to date on the Weekend Reads page.

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Weekend read: Jonathan Ive designs tomorrow

On Sunday, I read a great interview with Apple’s master of design Jony Ive in The Sunday Times. As I read it, I thought that I’d have loved to share it as my weekend read, and was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to since The Sunday Times is behind a paywall. Hurray, then, for TIME, who have reprinted John Arlidge’s great interview on their funky new website. It’s well worth a read.

This 2,191st post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , , , .

Weekend read: How the Mac changed the world

Weekend Read

The Apple Macintosh recently celebrated its 20th birthday. In one of the better articles marking the occasion, Time‘s fantastic tech writer Harry McCracken listed 20 ways in which Apple’s Mac changed the computer industry and the world – and makes a pretty convincing case for each of his points. It has a headline that makes it sound like a clickbait listicle, but it’s actually a great reflective retrospective.

This 2,167th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

2D: Apple’s tech breakthroughs

A couple of weeks ago, Apple announced the iPad Air. You probably noticed some of the extensive media coverage which always follows Apple’s carefully choreographed product announcements these days.

One thread that’s often spun after the announcement of a new Apple product is “Apple isn’t what is used to be under Steve Jobs”. I could’ve chosen any number of articles following any of Apple’s recent product launches to illustrate this point, but Hartmut Esslinger’s piece for Time magazine is a particularly fine example:

The company already has fallen back toward a marketing-driven strategy, not an innovation-driven one. What we’ve seen from Apple since Steve Jobs passed away implies that Apple largely may be done innovating in any groundbreaking fashion. It’s all been refinement since then.

But are these claims true? Amusingly, Harry McCracken in a different edition of the very same magazine says not:

The golden age of Apple never existed. Steve Jobs didn’t change the world every two years like clockwork, and he was incrementalism’s grand master. For every great leap forward Apple ever made, it accomplished at least as much through small steps that made its products easier, faster, thinner, lighter, more polished and/or more useful. Tim Cook has been CEO of Apple for only a little over two years, so there’s nothing deeply troubling about the fact that he hasn’t boiled any oceans yet.

I personally find Harry’s argument the more convincing of the two, but perhaps you will disagree. If you get chance, it’s also worth watching Doug Aamoth’s video at the bottom of Harmut Esslinger’s article – it’s a rare example of a self-consciously amusing technology video that actually made me laugh.

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them!

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2D: Sexism

Censored story

I feel we’ve reached an interesting point in the history of sexism: I seem to read a roughly equal number of articles complaining about sexism against both sexes. And today, I’ve picked a couple of interesting examples – both of which are quite short.

Firstly, here’s an article by Hadley Freeman of The Guardian (usually their fashion writer) about the sexism at Wimbledon and, in particular, the holes the BBC dug for itself:

One need only substitute the sexist nature of his comment with an equivalent racist slur to see how lightly the BBC apparently treats highly public verbal abuse of women.

It’s an interesting point, and the comments John Inverdale made during the Winbledon coverage were very clearly unacceptable. But I wonder if the BBC has ever issued an apology for sexism against men? I cannot recall such an incident. This might well be because such comments are less common, but they certainly occur.

My second selection for today is an article from Time by Jeffrey Kluger (usually their science editor), which will be familiar to subscribers of sjhoward.co.uk news. His discussion about the anachronistic commentary surrounding Prince William’s childcare skills, and the wider media portrayal of fathers, resonated with me.

The persona of the doofus dad was not something I signed up for when I became a father 12 years ago. I felt no less capable than I’d ever been, but in the popular culture, I’d crossed a line: Like all fathers, I’d become the sitcom buffoon who can’t boil an egg, warm a bottle, or be trusted to do the laundry without neglecting to add detergent and then exclaiming afterwards, “So that’s what that bottle of blue stuff was!”

Political correspondents often say that if they receive equal complaints from both ends of the political spectrum, then they’re probably doing something right. And, I guess, there’s an argument that if there are equal complaints about discrimination against men and women, then we as a society are doing something right.

That’s not a position I hold. I believe that the sort of casual discrimination against both men and women that these two articles discuss is clearly unacceptable. I hope that one day we, as a society, will get this right.

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them! The photo at the top of this post was posted to Flickr by Beth Granter, whose parents “censored” this childhood storybook. The photo is used under its Creative Commons licence.

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On astronauts getting sick in space

Today’s the 8th January, one of the commonest days for New Years Resolutions to be forgotten. And, after a week, I’m fairly sick of posting pictures of my own face…

But hey, this is my scrapbook, and I can do what I want with it! And today, I want to post a link to this intriguing brief article by Time’s science editor Jeffrey Kluger about the risks of getting ill in space. It’s really very good!

This 1,963rd post was filed under: Scrapbook, , .

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