Like many of you, I spent last week resting up, reading, relaxing and playing so I could head into 2018 with new ideas, fresh goals and maybe an organized office. So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d share with y’all some of the newsletters, books and services that I feel have made me think or have simply cheered me up after a long day.
Connected Rights: This is a weekly newsletter written by my former colleague David Meyer. He’s based in Berlin, so the stories have a European slant in both their origin and his viewpoint. However, since privacy is such a huge issue for the internet of things, I read it religiously to get a sense of court cases and regulations that offer new models for privacy.
The Prepared: This newsletter focuses on making things, technology and anything else that catches the creators’ eyes. Sometimes I even find links for this newsletter in that one. The collection of stories and videos can range from digital law to how a submarine cable is laid. It appeals to most of my nerd love.
Import AI: This newsletter, by former reporter Jack Clark, is the deepest dive into machine learning you can find. My reporter side loves the links to interesting AI papers and research, but my creative side loves his short stories from the future.
Flash Forward: I love this podcast for its production values and its format that starts with a trip to an imagined future and then interviews experts about the topic imagined. I also love Rose Eveleth’s perspective on the future. She is grounded in science and extrapolates the future with an eye towards both positive and negative developments.
Lab Girl: I loved biology and I love stories. This book adeptly combines the two as a memoir of the writer’s journey toward becoming a scientist. It really conveys the passion that can drive scientists through what can be tedious and frustrating work. It also exposes a lack of support for the people who are trying to understand how the world works.
The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions: My mom was a geophysicist, so this book was a favorite because it made me think of her and all the things she tried to teach me about rocks and the earth’s development. It also includes a view of the future under climate change that seems accurate, although absolutely dreadful. But the writing is top notch and it makes a dry subject compelling.
Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission: I received this book for Christmas and am not quite finished, but it’s a scary read on our future surveillance state and how it will affect everyone, but especially those who don’t have wealth and power. As we expand the digital dragnet, we are missing essential conversations about what we want from police and their role in a democratic society.
Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel: Yes, I am a fan of Jack Reacher, and this book puts our hero in the world of the dark web, which is far removed from Reacher’s typical bar fights and gun battles in empty fields or abandoned warehouses. Not to say that those elements aren’t there as well. I also enjoy how Reacher ignores technology but is inevitably sucked into it as the world changes.
Topi the Corgi: These YouTube videos are the ones I turn to when the world is a bit too much. I can’t get over the editing, the facial expressions this dog makes and the fact that corgis are adorable.