Embedded in a sphere of steel and glass, the “Rosetta Disk” is a physical disk containing over 13,000 pages etched with information on over 1,500 different human languages. The disk itself is made of electroformed nickel, contains useful information down to the nanoscale, was built to withstand multiple generations, and only requires basic technology to read—a microscope.
“His (Piketty’s) argument, based on current and historical data, is that wealth is becoming more important because now that the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of economic growth. When this happens, the gap between rich and poor gets bigger. In the past century wars and depressions kept the value of capital in check, but without disruption or intervention, the concentration of wealth is likely to intensify. The inevitable result? Increasing inequality.”
Vinsel spoke yesterday at the SOH Festival of Dangerous ideas. It was a slightly annoying session – I wanted to believe and disbelieve (in innovation) at the same time. In his talk, I felt Vinsel argued one-sidedly the dichotomy between ‘innovators’ and ‘maintainers’, without acknowledging the sense I felt all the way through, that it’s a question of balance of both (and more). My concerns were partially addressed on the day – Vinsel noted his comments were ‘polemical’, but better mollified in the comments of his original post, where (in response to comments about the Maker movement) he notes, ‘This work is polemical obviously, and my strategy in it was to pull together things that aren’t juxtaposed frequently enough… some of what I say is unfair–or at least is only partial–but that’s the nature of the genre.‘
My feeling is that innovation remains very valid, but I share a lot of Vinsel’s concerns about both its (1) being used as a panacea (and/ or proxy) for many other (critically important) things, and (2) the increasing use of innovation jargon/ rhetoric, to obscure what is really going on.
So, I feel that a better understanding of Vinsel’s concerns is going to help me a lot better in understanding and performing my day job, and a few things besides.
More to come, I hope.
The shepherd’s life – James Rebanks
Levels of life – Julian Barnes
Subliminal – Leonard Mlodinow
My Life on the road – Gloria Steinem
The Lessons of History – Will and Ariel Durant
The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)
I skipped the 2015 Festival as I felt no affiliation with the authors that year, largely by dint of not having read any of their most recent books. Eve and I went to a lot more of the 2016 Festival than in 2013 and 2014, in part out of FOMO. It was well worth the effort!
I bought ‘A brief history of seven killings’ by Marlon James, and planned around that. We attended a talk by Gloria Steinem with Jennifer Byrne at 6.15 on the Friday night (20May), followed (after dinner in the QVB) by Richard Glover hosting a panel on The Book That Saved Me that included Jeanette Winterson, Kate Tempest, Vivian Gornick, Herman Koch, Marlon James and Andrew Denton. It was a lot of fun, but we agreed Gloria won the day.
Taking up a curated package on the Saturday saw us at another panel (Gloria Steinem (again), Indian writer and activist Ira Trivedi and Australian journalist Laura Tingle) on Why Women Should Rule the World, then Richard Fidler interviewing James Rebanks. I attended an interview with Marlon James and after lunch we attended a wonderful talk by Stan Grant. We bailed on the last session, which was trawling the familiar ditch of ‘Donald Trump. WTF?’
We ended up with multiple copies of Gloria’s My Life On The Road, a couple of Stan Grant books, signed for the girls, and Rebanks’s A Shepherd’s Life, which I’m reading now.
University of Sydney SWF Recount featuring Gloria Steinem and Marlon James