Adam Stoner

Secrets of Silicone Valley

What I’ve been doing:

We moved offices at work. Never again will I have to weave in and out of people at Liverpool Street Station. I’m still adamant there should be a ‘everyone moves clockwise’ rule in place on station concourses - especially at Liverpool Street Staton, especially especially at rush hour. We’re now in Holborn.

They sent my commuter train to the station in the sky last week. Apparently the 18:15 was the last journey that specific train would ever make before they scrapped it. Lots of press on board and train nerds, too.

What I’ve been reading, hearing, and watching:

Every night Parliament sits, a light is turned on at Big Ben so the Queen can see her government at work. Seriously. It’s called the Ayrton light after the inventor Acton Smee Ayrton. My middle name is Ayrton. That’s the only link I have to this story of the turning the light off.

On the subject of tenuous links, Big Ben is not the name of the tower and no, it’s not the name of the bell either. It’s the name of a politician, Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the redesign of the Houses of Parliament. He was rather tall, hence Big Ben. That really is the only link.

Also, to show off my Big Ben knowledge a bit more… On the day The Great Bell was installed, it cracked. Turns out the hammer was too heavy for the bell. So the workmen hoist it down, a process that takes 30 hours, make a new bell, and some months later, reinstall a new bell. The same thing happened. Instead of making a third bell, they just flipped it, like a mattress… To this day the bell is still cracked, chiming at a slightly different note to the one that was intended.

I’m full of useless knowledge like that. You need me on your pub quiz team.

I’ve been reading The New European for the past fortnight. It’s everything a modern newspaper should be - design-led. I was talking to a friend about how newspapers shouldn’t be ‘news papers’ anymore but ‘design-lead, news on paper’.

Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching’ is really good.

I saw ‘Secrets of Silicone Valley’ on BBC iPlayer last weekend. There’s a really shocking story in the first twenty minutes about Uber in India; one driver ends up committing suicide due to the debt from car loans dished out by Uber.

I got a Five Minute Journal. The makers describe it as a ‘toothbrush for your mind’. You fill out half in the morning, half in the evening, answering questions like “What are you grateful for?” and “What one thing could I have done differently today?” It’s remarkably useful. One journal lasts six months.

Michael Angelakos of band Passion Pit released a stripped down version of ‘Where We Belong’ from sophomore album Gossamer. It’s one of my favourite songs and the stripped down version gives it a new poignancy.

19 Aug 2017

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