Interesting People

Jack Rampling

Makes TV, not sure why, but his name seems really familiar. Credited as having filmed, directed, and produced Secrets of Silicon Valley shown on BBC 4.

Jack seems genuinely passionate about the damage being done by social media. The program I saw was broadly accurate, non-sensationalist, and yet well presented to a non-tech audience.

It’s hard to convey these dangers because they depend on familiarity and understanding of abstract ideas, some lateral thinking to join them, and an epiphany on the implications that emerge. The program, at least the second part, which is all I saw, did this well.

People involved: Jamie Bartlett (presenter), James Cotter (tv man), Dr Peter Bloom (OU Consultant), Dr Neil Smith (OU Consultant).

The most memorable part for me is probably the interview with Alexander Nix. I can’t decide which is darker, his mission, or his take on the inevitability of his mission.

He says, on the subject of profiling and personalised advertising, that he sees nothing wrong with it and that it’s the future. Yet, no acknowledgement of the pronounced asymmetry between the advertisers and the public, nor its use for political purposes.

Elena Filatova

An explorer and documenter of the area around Chernobyl. Fascinating photos and insightful words about the effects of the disaster there, showing the dangers of nuclear power.

Although I personally believe that nuclear energy is a good way to generate power, I’ll re-consider and think harder on the subject. It’s hard not to listen to the opinions of someone like this.

On the subject of the few people she knew who remained living in the area:-

I found most of those folks on my motorcycle trips. I followed electric wires which led to their houses. Later they told me they had to fix those wires on their own. The government never helped them with anything. Doctors never came to see them. If relatives wanted to come to visit them, they often had problems getting through checkpoints. Seeing all this idiocy, I decided to give support to those people. I succeeded in collecting some funds to bring them food and the things they needed most. I couldn’t get official permission to do this in a normal way, so I had to travel illegally to bring them stuff. I was doing this for 5 years. I was hiding in the bushes like a criminal while the smugglers of radioactive wood and metal were waved through checkpoints. Their trucks were often escorted by police.

Those experiences made me come to realize that one of the great misfortunes of our world is that – even when we want to do something good – we have to first seek permission from those who produce only bad.


George Carlin

How did I get through my life so far without even knowing who this guy is?