Filtered on 19 November

16.05, Wednesday 19 Nov 2014


New to me: It turns out cricket standardised on six balls per over relatively recently. Test cricket used to use four balls, eight per over was used in the 1974 Ashes… it’s been six since 1979/80.

I’m always curious about the things and institutions we take for granted now, and how they started.

The Football Association was founded in 1863. The Scout movement in 1907.

Or the Psychoanalytic Society in 1902 and the Macy conference (cybernetics) in 1954. Different trajectories.

The Civil Service - the 447,000 strong organisation of apolitical bureaucrats instilled with public service values that runs the UK - the Civil Service was originally created for a private company, East India Company, that trained its previously-amateur adminstrators to run its operations in India and prevent its leaders from running amok.

And somehow the East Indian Company didn’t disappear but in the process of becoming Empire, flipped inside-out and now it is the state?

The founding report in 1853 gave the service its core values of integrity, propriety, objectivity and appointment on merit, able to transfer its loyalty and expertise from one elected government to the next – and took its inspiration from what had already been done by the Chinese.

The Northcote-Trevelyan Report!


Wildcard is a new iPhone app that embodies an emerging user interface: Cards.

Cards are single units of content or functionality, presented in a concise visual format that resembles a real world playing card or postcard.

Twitter is made out of cards, once tweets become actionable (perhaps with a ‘Buy Now’ button).

Most of my inbox is cards, or notifications of changes to cards. Accept a Linkedin invitation. Add a recommended book to a basket. Take a meeting.

I’ve got some history with this, so I buy the cards paradigm.


Denim Breaker Club, from the always-interesting Hiut.


So there’s this:

You are going to break our selvedge jeans in for our customers. You will have to agree to not wash them for 6 months. You will have to agree to update what you get up to in them on HistoryTag. And before you get them sent to you have pay a small deposit, which we will refund on their safe return. When we get them back, we will expertly wash them. And then we will sell these beautiful jeans. You will have 20% of the sale.

And there’s this:

Will this reduce the carbon footprint of a jean? What will ownership look like in the future? Does trust still matter?

Good grief these folks are good. I’m watching closely, what an incredible petri dish for the future of products.


I’ve always thought of GPS as being like a bunch of satellites that broadcasts the grid of very fine graph paper across the whole world. Then we can see the grid and count our way across it.

Andrei Derevianko is mining 15 years of historic GPS data to look for anomalies.

It turns out the universe might have fracture lines across it, folds along which the mass of an electron is different from the norm. If these lines exist, the solar system would pass over them as it orbits round the galactic core; it would take 170 seconds for the anomaly to move across the GPS network.

That’s what Derevianko is looking for.

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