Weekend Reading: Looking Glass Politics, Enrichment, and OSM Datasets

July 18, 2020 • #

🐇 Looking-Glass Politics

On private emotions being thrown into the public sphere:

People escape the Dunbar world for obvious reasons: life there appears prosaic and uninspiring. They find a digital interface and, like Alice in Through the Looking-Glass, enter a new realm that glitters with infinite possibilities. Suddenly, you can flicker like a spark between the digital and the real. The exhilarating sensation is that you have been taken to a high place and shown all the kingdoms of the world: “These can be yours, if. . . .” If your video goes viral. If you gain millions of followers. If you compose that devastating tweet that will drive Donald Trump from the White House. There is, however, an entrance fee. Personal identity must be discarded.

🏭 The Great Enrichment

Deirdre McCloskey on the boom of progress over the past 200 years:

The Great Enrichment came from human ingenuity emancipated. Ordinary people, emboldened by liberalism, ventured on extraordinary projects—the marine chronometer, the selective breeding of cotton seed, the band saw, a new chemistry—or merely ventured boldly to a new job, the New World, or going west, young man. And, crucially, the bold adventurers, in parallel with liberations in science, music, and geographical exploration, came to be tolerated and even commended by the rest of society, first in Holland in the 17th century and then in Britain in the 18th.

🗺 OSM-ready Data Sets

A partnership between Esri, Facebook, and the OpenStreetMap community to polish up and release datasets readily compatible with OSM (tagging and licensing).