Innovating our way to oblivion

(Summer re-run: first published 16 June 2008) Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place. I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative. But now we’re suffering a massive counter-attack […]

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Marketing, me, and the future of tv

(Summer re-run: first published September 2009) A marketing whiz I know in New York asked me to do her a favour: answer some questions about the future of tv. At least, that’s what I thought she asked. But when, a couple of days later, a FedEx package arrived, it contained a tiny digital voice recorder […]

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Doors of Perception seeks editor/writer to volunteer for special project

Doors of Perception seeks a very capable – but under-employed – editor/writer willing to volunteer for a special project. It’s to compile a New Yorker style listings that will be published as a stand-alone feature. I’m guessing that it will entail three to four weeks of intermittent work – and that it can be done […]

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Toxic sludge machine

I was critical last week of commentators who describe the financial crisis as “psychological”. Those who blame a “lack of transparency” are on stronger ground – although ignorance of the facts or the law is not a valid excuse in other domains of life. The process chart above describes something called a Financial Products Markup […]

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Heathrow chaos: time to start digging?

(Summer re-run: first published 31 March 2008) The chaos at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is an excellent example of what happens when the logic of finance interacts with the logic of large complex systems. As Will Hutton wrote at the weekend, shareholders in British Airways (its sole tenant) and BAA (which runs the airport) demand perpetually […]

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You can’t grow food with an iphone app – –

– – but Tana Sprague *can* sample the sounds of Caciocavallo cheese maturing. I was curious, when I first heard about it, as to the meaning of ‘’Rurality 2.0′ – the theme of the Interferenze festival in Italy last week. So now I know. It would miss the point to ask “why?” – and besides: […]

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The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five years. “We’ll maximise our use […]

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Could ‘green’ energy kill the desert?

(Summer re-run: first published 22 February 2009) One of the more remarkale sights on my recent trip was this vast wind farm outside Palm Springs. Located on the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass in the San Bernadino Mountains, it contains more than 4000 separate wind turbines and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the […]

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The economics of attention

(Summer re-run: first published 8 October 2006) In his review of Richard Lanham’s new book The Economics of Attention, Adrian Ellis says that “its core argument (is) that everyone is straining for distinction in a late capitalist global economy jammed with commodities and information, and that culture and creativity are what affords the producer the […]

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