Week 49: Mechanisms and illusions

I think I’ll do something special for week 52, since it’s the measure of a year, and allow week 50 to pass without comment. (And I know it’s only week 49, but that’s what I mean, I can’t tell you things in the order you need to hear them! I have no story intuition!) Anyway it’s been a week of variable weather and variable health, really; not enough exercise and late nights have been creeping in again.

  • We’ve got involved in a charity drive at work, for Good For Nothing, which I’ve been doing some bits of writing for. Made by Many are donating time and brainpower to rapidly build an ingenious money-harvesting mechanism, to help the East African famine relief effort. I work for a nice company.
  • I’m still talking to TNMOC and thinking about time travel interactions for another thing, and, as always, I am all about the cash machines.
  • Sara and I are underway with plans for the next couple of Storywarps. We’ve had a few mini-discussions with a few people this week, and have scored a very prestigious speaker… more on that to follow.
  • I met up with Paul Squires of Imperica again this week. Among many other things, he’s the inspiring mind behind Book Hack Day. We have a lot of common ground and always have lots of things to talk about.
  • Very unexpectedly this week, I was offered a free tour of an ATM test facility in Sheffield. Fully intend to take them up on that next time I’m anywhere near.
  • I’m still reading The Prestige, and watching and reading and thinking about all kinds of other wonderful stuff about magic.
  • I’m going to a retro tech hack weekender at The Centre for Computing History this weekend.
  • And by all accounts, my sister-in-law is about to go into labour.

1. Videos of things are never as good as actual things. Something weird happens in translation when live events are filmed. In my experience, video footage of “what you missed” always makes things look, sound, and feel worse than they were, defeating the point a bit. I find it distracting from the points being made, the poor quality of filmed reality. Is it that there are higher standards for film than there are for other media? Because I’m used to filmed media being directed and shot well, poor film seems relatively much much poorer? I don’t know, but I was thinking about it this week, so there it is.

2. In relation to our discussion about the lack of diversity at conferences, I read this great piece about getting women involved in start-ups, which was a response to this crazy-horse one. And although it was good, I was disappointed that it didn’t fulfil the promise of the title “Why start-ups should try to hire women” and come right out with a reason. But of course there is no reason, because it’s answering the wrong question. By contrast, the reasons why women are shit to work with, as offered by Penelope Trunk, are quite readily listed. She reels off a laundry list of predictable sexism. Women cry at work? Women are flaky and emotional? Fuck’s sake, we don’t need this stuff from anyone, of either gender. Imagine if someone said “Asian people are bad to work with, don’t hire an asian!” Anyway. This is the problem, for me. It’s not “Why you should hire women”, it’s more like “Why you should want to make everything better, for everyone” or even: “Why you shouldn’t have shitty exclusions based on ingrained, outmoded and idiotic prejudice.” Women aren’t qualitatively different to men, only a complete idiot would even suggest it, and to get sucked into the argument on that basis – even to counter it – feels treacherous.

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