Sunday, May 31, 2015

C'est intéressant w/c 25 May 2015

Interesting, intriguing, exciting, amusing, enraging, fascinating things I recommend.

BBC Radio 4 - Soul Music: Gracias a la vida
A moving listen. People talk about what this song, made famous by Mercedes Sosa, has meant to them. Includes the testimony of a political prisoner under Pinochet in Chile in 1973. I responded to these words from a recent widow, who grew to associate the song with the death of her husband: "when you're saying to yourself thank you to life which has given me so much, you can't actually focus on what's been taken, if you really hear those words" 

Essay - Silicon Valley is a big lie (GQ magazine)
A really interesting read, arguing that Silicon Valley is too white and too male, is not bent on bringing us closer together, and certainly is not really there to make the world a better place. Bursting the bubble, or what? I certainly thought many of the people who take digital marketing courses and speak of disrupting this or that should read and debate it.
Make a list of the apps and companies mentioned in the article: it's priceless. DogVacay (pet-sitters on demand)! Underground Cellar (curated, limited-edition wines with a twist)! Also:
"According to Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape, "Learning to code is the single best thing anyone can do to get the most out of the amazing future in front of us." That's one hell of a statement at a time when more than 30 million American adults can't read well."
Back to reality.

Article - Britain's Hotel Workers: bullied, underpaid, and with few rights (Observer)
There is something suspicious in seeing a glowing piece about the work of the union Unite in the pages of The Observer, just as that same union is in the news for having too much influence within the Labour party. But anyway, I still read that article and it does prove the value of organised workers' movements in fighting for and securing better rights for otherwise powerless individuals. 
Did you know hotel room attendants are paid £2.30 - £3.75 per room they clean, with the time to clean a room being between 24 and 28 minutes, depending on the hotel? There is something frightening about a hotel room being cleaned so quickly, and disgusting at how little the staff is paid - who would be motivated by this pay, feel valued and satisfied? It's crazy. Slim profit margins and a culture of intimidation are not helping the situation, and one can only support Unite's actions in this industry.

This picture - wow.

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