Pigs in the river

@mrmrsnightingale on Instagram.

[Boris Johnson will start fires we’ll find hard to put out.] LabourList: Sienna Rodgers: Boris Johnson is biggest threat to Corbyn and the country, say LabourList readers

I’m not sure you can extrapolate LaboutList readers to represent the wider population. But some of the statistics are a concern. “Which of the following potential candidates do you think would be most difficult for Jeremy Corbyn to beat in a general election?” Readers fear Mr. Johnson the most at 45.2%. Why? Is it because he’s the Donald Trump of British politics? A “strong personality” who can charm people? A hook upon which the dissatisfied can hang their frustration? Isn’t that Nigel Farage’s unique selling point, a voice for the angry and disaffected? I think Mr. Johnson has a better education than Trump, and is more articulate than Farage. But when the bombs start landing I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for Boris Johnson, not what’s best for this country. I heard the end of an interview on Radio 4 a couple of days ago. Two pundits talking about Mr. Johnson and the possibility of him becoming a Prime Minister. One extolled his virtues as a “man who lights up a room” when he enters. The other highlighted his considerable lack of moral character, and his bumbling indiscretions as Foreign Secretary. Both might have a point. Personally, I’m not sure I want someone who “lights up a room” as Prime Minister. He might be able to light up the country, but I fear he will start fires we’ll find hard to put out.

[We should build Moon Base Alpha] The Conversation: Matteo Ceriotti: Wandering Earth: rocket scientist explains how we could move our planet

The science in this article is interesting, but Mr. Ceriotti leaves the best for last. If there’s any human life on Earth when the sun starts to expand, the best thing we can do is move the entire population of the planet to Mars. I much prefer the idea of moving us all to the moon. That way we’ll be floating through space like the team of Moon Base Alpha in Space: 1999.

[The panopticon at work] BBC Click: Geoff White: Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology is dangerous. The UK should follow San Francisco’s example and ban its use. The argument, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, is a smokescreen. It appeals to a certain logic without recognising the threat. If you disagree you must have something to hide. It allows vested interests to push an agenda that does nothing for any of our liberty. Facial recognition is the first step in the state automating policing, in automating the panopticon. You will change the way you behave because you will never know when you are being watched. Facial recognition weaponises surveillance, it weaponises the weapon.

[The sinister face of social media] The Guardian: Jamie Fullerton: Teenage girl kills herself ‘after Instagram poll’ in Malaysia

There is a cold inevitability to this headline. A sadness that goes beyond the mountain of sadness that is this girl’s death. I’m filled with questions about the kind of people social media is engineering. And that brings a chill when I think about the people around me. We really are fucked if we’ve become a world where voting on someone’s death or life is given so little thought. My guess is every one of the 69 per cent who voted “death” are going to say they didn’t think she was serious. Their response to “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L”, was as random as flipping a coin. They didn’t think about the question, or the outcome. They just flipped a tail instead of a head at the toss. An even more worrying implication is the lack of of critical thinking present in her followers. Would this girl still be alive if she had put an “L” before the “D”? I’m going to make a dangerous assumption that she put the “D” before the “L” because she had suicide in mind. Her metric was already headed in that direction. The answer just confirmed her choice. The 69 per cent chose randomly, and followed blindly. That possibility has ramifications reaching way beyond this girls suicide, taking us somewhere over the horizon, and dropping us in a well so deep we may never get out. In a complicated world social media simplified a question into a choice between, “D” or “L”. Ironically they understood the difference between the abstract “D” for death and “L” for life, but not the nuance of putting “D” before “L”. In life there are no binary choices. I fear we are forgetting that fact, forgetting how to navigate that complexity.

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