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Five things - 23/03/2020

1. Four Tet - Sixteen Oceans

I’ll start with some music, because otherwise everything will get too serious. Four Tet recently came out with a new album, and it’s a great listen. I have only played it through once, so I can’t eloquently summarise it, but here’s a couple of reviews. Good for zoning out, and also when you need to focus on something.

2. Newscast

I don’t have a TV so I’ve escaped a lot of the coverage of the pandemic, but as an ardent Brexitcast listener I’ve continued listening to the journalists who get together every week to discuss the news. Like most media at the moment it’s morphed into a Coronavirus programme, but I don’t mind that too much. They get a variety of people on, but the core team of Adam Fleming, Chris Mason, Laura Kuenssbery and Katya Adler are regularly together. Recently the BBC’s medical correspondent has been on, and there are other ‘experts’ who come to discuss topical news.

3. Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus

I’m a fan of Harari’s books, and it’s good to see his take on what’s going on. The gist of this article is that society could be changed irrevocably if we aren’t careful, with surveillance measures being used to enforce lockdown. He argues we should prioritise both health and privacy, and not enact emergency powers that could be left in place indefinitely. The article also discusses the importance of unity on a global level. With the US not taking a position of leadership, and making rash isolationist decisions like banning incoming EU travel without any prior discussion, we are going to find it hard to coordinate efforts to overcome the pandemic. Harari argues that there needs to be information sharing, pooling of medical resources, economic cooperation and agreement on travel policies.

4. Rudy’s Pizza

Back in 2016, we had an Italian from Naples join the team, who said that Manchester wouldn’t have real pizza. Fortunately we proved him wrong, because Rudy’s was set up specifically to make really good Neapolitan style pizza. Before discovering Rudy’s, I hadn’t really tried it before. Now I find it hard to enjoy other styles of pizza. A particular highlight is the “Ancozzese”, a white pizza with smoked mozzarella, sausage and friarelli, a special kind of broccoli (I believe the authentic name for this pizza is ‘salsiccia e friarelli’). Generally all the toppings are authentic, so no chicken, beef mince or pineapple in sight. Now that restaurants are shut, they have started doing takeaway, which I managed to try last week. Hopefully they’ll pull through the restaurant lockdown.

5. Simon Wardley on Twitter

Many people will have heard of Wardley Maps, which are gradually permeating management types, especially in technology. The basic premise is that in order to work out a sensible strategy, it is necessary to work out the most visible/valuable user need you are trying to solve, and then follow the dependencies of this down to the less visible things. On the other axis, you position things by how commoditised they are. For example, a pizza ordering system where you can choose toppings might need to be purpose built, but the electricity that supplies to pizzeria is solved on an industrial scale so there isn’t any point in trying to build a custom power generator. Anyway, I recommend following @swardley on Twitter, as he has interesting takes on a lot of things. He often posts dialogues with a fictional person “X”, which are quite entertaining. Here’s a long thread of 80 tweets on the response to Coronavirus - (read it in one unrolled view).