Bitcoin, chatroulette, and how to survive Amazon - 3 things to read

Welcome to Friday - I’m all out of ideas for the week, so here are some suggestions for things to read this weekend…

Bitcoin dreams (from the Los Angeles Review of Books) - this is a good article that explores how hard it is to make mechanistic and technological systems work inside a society that is fundamentally messy and complex. It also highlights that it can have negative consequences for the way that we think about governance and the state:

“The belief in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as platonic systems that eliminate the need for human governance nurtures an ethos of anything-goes nihilism.”


We’re turning stranger (from The Baffler) - we often think about the connectivity that digital products afford us in terms of efficiency and productivity. However, there are many ways in which connectivity only makes things weirder. Chat apps like Chatroulette give us all a direct route into the strange and weird world of other people’s minds.

“We forget that talking to strangers was once one of the biggest thrills of the internet. Like most cheap thrills, it generated a lot of handwringing.”


Surviving Amazon (Logic Magazine) - How do you keep your sanity in a dehumanizing working environment? It’s not easy, but resistance - in even the most prosaic ways, can be vital and empowering.

“…daily acts of resistance serve as body and sanity-saving strategies. Small workarounds — tricks, games, minor sabotage — extend the time one can bear the relentless and deadening grind. A strategy that saves one’s calves an extra trip across the warehouse could make the difference between quitting this week and holding out for another paycheck.”

Follow me on Twitter