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Weeknotes 2022.10

A few things I’ve been thinking about this week. The tenth post of a series.

I went for a walk in Sunderland this week, and was amazed to find a full-size sculpture of one of the Martian tripod machines from HG Wells’s War of the Worlds towering over me. I was amazed that I’d never heard about it, striking as it was, and spent a while after getting home searching the web for more information.

After initially turning up nothing, I ended up discovering that it isn’t a Martian sculpture at all, but is supposed to represent something else entirely. Most embarrassingly, I realised that I did know that this other sculpture existed, I just didn’t recognise it for what it was.

I didn’t take a picture of the sculpture, which perhaps is just as well, but if you’re near these impressive cliffs, you’re not far away from it. Hopefully, you would know it when you saw it, even if I didn’t.

There’s nothing more boring than other people’s dreams. I dreamt this week about being on a plane which was landing in heavy fog. The pilot came to sit in the main cabin, explaining that this was a new regulation for landing in fog, as human intervention in the automated landing was more frequently associated with causing disaster than averting it.

It’s made me ponder whether (or perhaps when) we’ll get to the point of banning human intervention in automated processes.

I was a couple of years late to this, but Bunga Bunga, Wondery’s nine part podcast on the political career of Silvio Berlusconi, is brilliant. Not only is the story itself simply unbelievable, Whitney Cummings’s presentation of it is perfectly pitched and laugh-out-loud hilarious while avoiding making light of serious issues. I highly recommend it.

Bus stop adverts have recently appeared for Macmillan Cancer Support, with the tagline “Whatever it takes. Donate today.”

I have a strongly negative reaction to that. People shouldn’t be donating “whatever it takes,” they shouldn’t be getting into debt to support Macmillan, they shouldn’t be diverting resources from other charities they support. It’s unduly pushy.

This post was filed under: Weeknotes.

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