Every ten days or so, I share a quick digest of what I've been working on and reading. Here's the latest. More in the series here.
Big policy win in the UK last week, as the Advertising Standards Authority banned an SUV advert from Toyota on the grounds that it “condoned the use of vehicles in a manner that disregarded their impact on nature and the environment … they had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society”.
You only need to see a screenshot from the ad to understand why:
Possible, the climate charity I work with, has been campaigning for some time on the issue of SUV advertising and the Guardian's article on the subject references several of our findings. It's a big deal because SUVs are about a third of vehicles sold in the UK (and 50% in the EU), and their weight and emissions profile means that the average carbon emitted by a non-electric car has now begun increasing again after years of decline.
So I'm really happy to have been able to play a small part in this ruling!
So, Eurovision is in Malmö next year (basically the only reason I moved here) and tickets went on sale this week. There was only about a week's notice, but luckily I get the Eurovision newsletter so I heard about it that way.
The ticketing is being done through Ticketmaster, which already made my heart sink, but it sank yet further when I logged in five minutes before they were released to find I was in a queue of three hundred and fifty thousand people. Yes, some of those were almost certainly bots (despite a captcha being required to enter the queue), but wow.
I sat in the queue for an hour and moved forward about 2,000 places. Four hours later I was down below place 300,000. I basically wrote off my chances. When I went to check back on the queue after about six hours, though, a weird thing happened - it said I had been timed out. I groaned and clicked through to the queue again, but then to my surprise I was suddenly staring at a "buy tickets" page.
There wasn't much left, but I did manage to get two seats for the jury show for the first semi-final - I'd wanted the second, but that's fine. The seats are way up in the top tiers of the arena, so I'm not gonna be seeing too much detail that isn't on a screen, but they were also not that expensive - about 86 EUR for both.
So I'm gonna call it a little Christmas miracle, and consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be getting to attend my third in-person Eurovision! 🎉🎉🎉
Want to design a synthesizer? Of course you do. So here's a Inkscape plugin (Illustrator coming soon) called "Synth Panel Designer" that'll help. It includes knobs, sliders, and scales of all kinds, as well as panel sizings for many standard formats.
I've started getting emoji "reactions" by email and it's the worst. Please, please, please can this not be a thing.
Alex Hern on the Sam Altman craziness of the last couple of weeks:
What conclusions should we draw? I think the most important one is that we already have an inhuman system that is more powerful than any individual human and fundamentally incapable of being prevented from carrying out its own goals, and it’s called capitalism. OpenAI tried to build an organisation that could be restrained from chasing pure profit. It didn’t work.
Ambient.Garden is thoroughly lovely.
Ambient.Garden is an experiment that started with the question: can a composition be organized in space rather than time? Can it be experienced in space by the listener? It's now evolved into a practice of "composing as gardening", so you can expect Ambient.Garden to keep changing as the garden is tended to.
Current status: feeling like I have many things to say but not enough energy to figure out exactly how I want to say them (even this tbh).