Matt Jones

Link Notes 22 March 2021

The Traveller meets the Eloi
The Traveller meets the Eloi Credit: BBC Archive · Fair Use

Why All Drugs Should Be Decriminalised | Interview With David Nutt

In 2010 Professor David Nutt was working as a government adviser on drugs policy when he was sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson after presenting evidence that many Class A drugs are less harmful to society than alcohol.

I think this is an example of where, despite overwhelming evidence, if politicians think something won’t be popular with voters then informed voices will be silenced, or in this case sacked.

It’s a defining element of the UK’s political system, where focus groups and optics trumps evidence when it comes to policy making.

Ethical small tech

This is an interesting conversation between the Small Tech Foundation (Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag) and David Heinemeier Hansson of Basecamp and Ruby on Rails fame.

When it comes to the online services we use, we have a choice between services that appear to be be free (and free in terms of monetary payment) but take our personal data which is effectively sold it to advertisers, and services where we pay money in exchange for the service and money is the only tender.

It is important to remember that there is still a choice here. For my personal email accounts, I pay a small monthly fee to Fastmail and it’s a really excellent, trustworthy service.

In Our Time Podcast archive

In Our Time is a live Radio 4 discussion programme where each week Melvyn Bragg invites a panel of guests to discuss ‘the history of ideas’ in science, history and the arts. The entire archive of 900 episodes going back to 1998 is available on the BBC Sounds and is well worth dipping into. I particularly enjoyed the episode about HG Wells' The Time Machine (An Invention)

The recordings available in the podcast include extra material recorded after the show goes off air, which often ends with the guests being offered tea and coffee by the producer. I don’t quite know why, but I love that.